Century looks to open cold weather shelter
January 20, 2022
The Century Town Council elected its officers and rescheduled its council meeting dates, workshops and Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meetings for the rest of this year before discussing opening a cold weather shelter during Monday's meeting.
With all council members present, Council President Luiz Gomez called for nominations to elect a president and vice president for 2022. Councilwoman Sandra McMurray Jackson made the only nomination and motioned to re-elect Gomez for president. Councilwoman Dynette Lewis seconded the motion. With no other nominations, the council voted unanimously for Gomez.
Councilman James Smith, who was vice president the past year, nominated Lewis for vice president and made a motion for the same. Councilman Leonard White seconded the motion and Lewis won with a unanimous vote.
Next, the council voted unanimously to start holding its meetings on the first and third Tuesday of every month. The meetings will begin at 6:45 p.m. to discuss the bill list with the council meeting at 7 p.m. Lewis made a motion which was seconded by Smith. All voted yes.
The town's CRA meetings are now scheduled during the first council meeting on the last month of each quarter, which is March, June, September and December in 2022. Town Clerk Leslie Howington said the council will adjourn its council meeting and open the CRA meeting to discuss the CRA. Councilman Gomez requested a report of how much money is in the CRA at each meeting. The CRA meeting will then adjourn and the council meeting will reopen.
Workshops were scheduled to address what the job descriptions and responsibilities of a possible future town manager and/or public works director would be and how more than $900,000 in $ American Rescue Plan funds will be allocated. The workshops are set for Tuesdays, Feb. 1, 8, 15 at 7 p.m. at Century town hall.
In other business, Councilman Gomez expressed concern to the council that after seeing an individual who was in the post office and the park trying to keep warm, Century needed a cold weather shelter.
Northwest Florida Community Outreach (NWFCO) Executive Director Christeia Hawkins approached the council to discuss possibly opening a cold weather shelter in Century. Gomez said he reached out to Pensacola State College (PSC) Century Director Alex Andrews and Andrews indicated that PSC had the space.
Hawkins explained that Pensacola has a shelter, Women With Clear Vision, that also offers three-month and six-month community programs, such as GED classes, Financial literacy, workforce readiness and others. She mentioned the long term goal of bringing those programs to the north end of the county but reiterated Century needs a cold weather shelter now.
“We want to start a conversation about service for north end,” said Hawkins. “We've been around for seven years in Escambia County, Florida. We believe the services need to be available here in Century. We have a website, http://www.womenwithclearvision.org, and our office is located at 315 East Olive Road.”
Offering programs from GED to workforce development, Hawkins said they are partners with emergency management and suggested someone come speak to the council about the cold weather shelter and programs.
Councilman Gomez mentioned he spoke to higher ups and the cost would have to come from the town of Century. Hawkins said the board members of their organization would have to be agreed and could possibly cover the utilities and insurance.
When Gomez asked about security, Hawkins said the organization is partners already with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, and she could reach out to them and have them available
Councilwoman Sandra McMurray Jackson asked if the shelter will be just for Century residents only or for anyone out in the cold. Hawkins said anyone, but that Century will be a central location.
The phone number for Women With Clear Vision in Pensacola is 850-542-7984.
The cold weather shelter in Century will be seasonal, but in the future the council is willing to discuss bringing the programs offered in Pensacola to Century. Councilman Gomez said he will reach back out to PSC in Century, emergency management and others to get the ball rolling, since it is cold weather season.