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Palm Beach County announces opening of Lewis Center Annex, temporary homeless shelter at South Florida Fairgrounds

Site will offer food, medical care, job assistance, and more to homeless residents
Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner, July 5, 2020, County TV
Posted at 9:14 AM, Jul 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-06 18:05:52-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County leaders on Monday announced the opening of the Lewis Center Annex, a temporary homeless shelter at the South Florida Fairgrounds.

"I'm excited about this step forward," Mayor Dave Kerner said during a news conference.

The county is using a former correctional facility, located at 673 Fairgrounds Road near West Palm Beach, as a temporary shelter.

The 17-acre compound is currently vacant but is being maintained for future use.

The goal is to relocate homeless people currently living in tents at John Prince Park to the new shelter.

"When people are forced, because of economic conditions and other difficult times, to move into this park in tents, it's not appropriate for them," said Kerner.

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FULL NEWS CONFERENCE: Palm Beach County opens temporary homeless shelter

Calling it a "warm, accommodating" facility, Kerner said the shelter will provide temporary relief for homeless residents until construction is finished on a new homeless resource center near Lake Worth in the fall of 2022.

There will be approximately 100 to 125 beds at the facility.

County officials said homeless residents can stay at the temporary shelter for a maximum of 90 days, and will have access to food, medical care, counseling, job and housing assistance, laundry services, case management, and more.

"Homelessness was one of our priorities, and will continue to be our priority until we find a home for everyone in Palm Beach County," said Commissioner Gregg Weiss.

Palm Beach County commissioners voted 7-0 in favor of providing the temporary shelter.

People can begin moving in as soon as Monday, officials said.