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Bunnell Is Revisting Decision To Close Flagler County's Only Cold Weather Shelter

Sara Ulis
People take shelter in The Sheltering Tree in this undated photo.

A fight continues over the closure of a homeless shelter in a Flagler County town near Palm Coast.

The Bunnell City Commission will revisit its decision in May to shut down the county’s only cold weather homeless shelter, which was located in the First United Methodist Church.

The Sheltering Tree opened its doors when overnight temperatures dropped below 40 degrees.

Sheltering Tree Board member Sarah Ulis said the organization also helped the area’s needy year-round.

“Whether it’s providing a security deposit for an inexpensive family so a family doesn’t have to live in their car - or finding a birth certificate for someone who’s just been released from the county jail and can’t get a job,” the shelter has been there for people, said Ulis.

Ulis said the board is determined to do what it takes to keep the shelter open when cold weather strikes and its services available.  One member reached out to the U.S. Justice Department.

“And in two days, a trial lawyer called us back and said ‘this seems wrong to us’ and, in fact, is citing a land use statute that might come into play here. So if we have to pull out the big guns, we will.”

The Bunnell City Commission will take up the Sheltering Tree’s appeal at Monday night’s meeting.  It starts at 7 at City Hall on West Moody Boulevard.

Contact reporter Cyd Hoskinson at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter at @cydwjctnews.