It was a bitter sweet moment for former owner of 1203 N. Federal Highway, Sean Cononie. On Tuesday August 18th, demolition started on the Homeless Voice shelter. City Hall, the new owners, are hoping a developer buys up the parcel of land that’s in a stretch of “run down and undesirable” buildings. Down the road there are approximately $350 million dollars’ worth of projects underway.
For the past 13 years under the direction of Sean Cononie, 1203 has operated as a homeless shelter serving three meals a day, offering outreach, disaster relief, and many other programs. Funding came through private donations and a portion of the sales of The Homeless Voice newspaper, sold by residents of the shelter. Many of whom had been with him from the start and considered their home.
Earlier this year, Cononie agreed to an offer from the City of Hollywood. Almost $5 million for the 1203 property, Cononies’ own private residence and multiple other properties with an agreement that he cannot own in Hollywood for the next 30 years. Shortly after the agreement Cononie found a new home for his residents in Haines City. The new facility has so far proven to be a good move for everyone involved.
“We didn’t fit in this area. Although sad, it brings good things to the city I think. I don’t think it’s going to solve the homeless problem but I think it will invite other business,” said Cononie.