The Source in Vero Beach, under the leadership of Executive Director Anthony Zorbaugh, along with local community supporters and anonymous donors, officially announce that the doors to the new Dignity Bus are now open to 20 needy people living on the streets of Indian River County in need of a good night’s sleep.
The Source had one simple focus in creating the Dignity Bus — to provide a safe, temporary overnight accommodation for those sleeping rough in Indian River County. The aim is to get people off the street and keep them safe and healthy until they can get back on their feet. This accommodation is not a long term solution, but can provide a safe, temporary and comfortable place to sleep for the night.
The Source began in 1995 as a fledgling homeless ministry. Today their purpose remains to offer life-changing possibilities to residents in crisis-offering emergency hunger relief, clothing, counseling, support groups, hygiene items, showers, mail and telephone services, benefit referrals, cold weather refuge, and so much more. All services are offered free of charge, thanks to the generosity of friends and family of The Source.
Zorbaugh explains….”In our effort to extend and expand our programs and services for the homeless, we always question ourselves ….How can we continue to help people living on the street? The simple answer is to help them sleep. Why? Because sleep can change everything.”
On a single night in 2019, roughly 568,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. Nearly two-thirds (63%) were staying in sheltered locations—emergency shelters or transitional housing programs—and more than one-third (37%) were in unsheltered locations such as on the street, in abandoned buildings, or in other places not suitable for human habitation.
Source: 2019 Housing Urban Development report
Zorbaugh continues, “We are proud to add that this overnight emergency shelter on wheels is the first and only one of its kind for the homeless in the country.”
Dignity Bus, with a custom-made interior and exterior, provides 20 secure, climate-controlled, individual sleep pods with a lockable door, under-bus storage, pet pods for companion animals, an onboard overnight security person, and monitored CCTV surveillance. One Dignity Bus provides 7,300 safe sleeps per year. Guests are asked to adhere to a few important guidelines in order to maintain the safety, security and comfort for everyone. The Bus is open for sign in at 9:45 p.m. on a first-come first-served basis.
“Since this is the year of COVID, we are using all protocols possible for the safety of our guests,” Zorbaugh adds. “Upon departure from the bus in the morning, clean- up and disinfecting of the sleeping pods prepares it for the use of a new group arriving for that night’s sleep. Additionally, we recently purchased an air-purification system that is highly effective in this COVID climate. With the assistance of our three air-conditioning units, the filter purifies 99.9% of any possible toxins.
A local Source supporter, wishing to remain anonymous, was instrumental in helping to obtain the vehicle that ultimately was redesigned from stationary seating to sleeping pods in the Bus. Her donation was made to honor her late husband who passed away in the summer of 2020.
Local philanthropist, George Shinn, has made a sizeable contribution to Dignity Bus, and his name appears on the exterior design. Mr. Shinn expresses, “As the founder of the George Shinn Foundation, I am dedicated to making a difference by providing for basic needs, answering calls for help in times of crisis, and equipping ministries. My support of the Dignity Bus fits that mission.”
Thanks to the generosity of Truist Financial Corporation (formerly Sun Trust Bank), and as part of its Lighthouse Project program that supports local non-profits on projects to address critical community needs, they have supplied blankets, sheets and pillows for the Bus.
A special program was also created to help subsidize all the maintenance and related costs, including bedding, laundry, air-conditioning, maintenance, insurance, security costs, gasoline and other general necessities that could run as high at $70,000 annually. To meet those needs, “Adopt a Pod” will assist in subsidizing these costs. Sponsors, supporters and investors can “Adopt A Pod” or more than one of our 20 Pods, with either a one, two or three year donation. Each Adopted Pod is $3,000. General Donations are also welcome. These donations are tax-deductible and come with several benefits to the donor.
The Dignity Bus Community Launch and ribbon cutting by The Indian River County Chamber of Commerce will be held on Wednesday, March 17 at 5 p.m.-6:00 p.m. at The Horse Farm at Mr. Bobby Lindsey’s Home, 6585 12th Street (On the Corner of 12th Street and 66th Avenue). Zorbaugh concludes, “We will have the bus on hand for interior tours, a video of the making of the Bus, speeches, a prayer for the Bus and some complimentary refreshments. This is a way to communicate our mission of helping to transform lives in Indian River County.”
For more information on Dignity Bus or to speak to either Anthony Zorbaugh or Maureen Archer directly, please call 772-564-0202 or visit www.iamthesource.org.