The Bay Area Resource Center and Community Campus
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
1. We already have a Rescue Mission. Why do we need the Resource Center and campus?
The Rescue Mission has served the Panama City community for many years and area residents value its efforts to help those in need. However, it has not been able to keep up with the ever increasing need that has become apparent in recent years. That is why the downtown area merchants and government officials are so concerned about the future of our city. It will be very difficult to create and maintain a vibrant Marina and a robust downtown dining and entertainment venue until those in need find services at another location.
Also, the Bay Area Resource Center will offer comprehensive services in addition to food and shelter at its campus location. This will help many of those in need of emergency assistance, health care, a detox program, or employment training to access all services simultaneously. This campus will have transitional housing units in addition to emergency shelter, so participants can stay on-site long enough to stabilize their lives and make the transition to permanent housing.
2. We are concerned that the Resource Center and the Rescue Mission will both be operating at the same time.
The Rescue Mission has been invited to be one of the first service providers to join the operation of the Community Campus and provide emergency shelter as it does now. It is our intent to collaborate with the Rescue Mission, rather than recreate the shelter portion of the continuum of housing services. It is our hope that the Rescue Mission will take advantage of this opportunity to construct new facilities that are spacious and updated on a secure campus.
3. Does money come from the City of Panama City’s General Fund to support this project? Is the Resource Center going to be operated with City funding in the future?
The City of Panama City will not be providing operating funds now or in the future for the Bay Area Resource Center and Community Campus. The City will make a one-time expenditure to fund the land purchase for the campus. The project will then operate on federal grant funds, private foundation gifts, and individual donations.
4. Who will be “in charge” of this project if not the City of Panama City?
Mayor Brudnicki appointed a Task Force to address Homelessness in August of 2011. The Task Force determined that a new nonprofit, now named the Bay Area Resource Center and Community Campus, Inc. should be created to manage the campus and centralized client services. This nonprofit organization will direct participants’ intake, assessment, case management, and services placement. It will also be responsible for campus facilities management, security and grounds care.
5. How will people access the Bay Area Resource Center and Community Campus? Will transportation be provided?
Over time, there will be numerous ways to arrive at the Resource Center location. The Resource Center will be located close to a main transportation arterial and it will be easy to find its location. While it may take a few months to arrange for transportation services, it is believed that a trolley stop is a realistic possibility. Also, funds are being requested from a federal source to purchase vans to support transportation to the Resource Center for anyone without their own transportation. Those who are entering the campus as part of a community diversion program will be transported by law enforcement personnel.
6. How will you ensure the community’s safety and the safety of those on campus?
As part of the design process, we have included a fence fully surrounding the campus, as well as a natural barrier of trees and shrubbery. The campus will have private security 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Everyone who arrives at the campus will be admitted through one central intake point, where they will sign in and receive an identification badge. Everyone leaves the campus the same way — through one exit point, and their exit is also recorded.
7. Who will be served at the Bay Area Resource Center? We don’t want to attract any more problems to our area.
The Bay Area Resource Center will not recruit from other geographical areas and priority status will be given to serve persons from our local community. While the “Palm Tree” effect will always be associated with locations in Florida, this Resource Center is not located close to the beach, the fishing pier or the central city with liquor stores, restaurants and other entertainment.
Moreover, anyone who stays on campus must be participating in a work program, an educational program, or both, so their experience will not be that of a resort location, but rather an experience in technical training, self-discipline, expectations met and progress made. This will not be social time with friends, it will be a serious commitment to self-improvement.
8. How will you find the funds to carry out this project?
Once land has been obtained for this project, we will have the opportunity to collaborate with local and national service providers who have funding to construct and operate housing facilities. We have preliminary agreements with organizations such as Volunteers of America to build transitional housing for Veterans and to begin their project as soon as land becomes available.