The Source Attends the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference
Anthony Zorbaugh, the Executive Director of The Source, recently attended the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference as an exhibitor, alongside Jonathan Orozco, the Director of Development of the organization. The conference format was entitled “Innovations & Solutions for Ending Unsheltered Homelessness,” and it was held in Oakland, CA, March 1-3. It focused on the innovative and creative ways that all members of the homelessness system are exploring collaborative partnerships, leveraging resources, and implementing best practices to meet the needs of those experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
The conference provided a unique platform for Zorbaugh and Orozco to share how they are combating the homelessness issues in Vero Beach through their many programs and services. The majority of their presentation, through booth presentations and roundtable sessions, was about Dignity Bus, a one-of-a-kind innovative solution to the nationwide homelessness crisis.
Dignity Bus is an “overnight emergency shelter on wheels,” and the first of its kind in the country. Converted from a one-time passenger bus, the bus provides a safe, temporary overnight accommodation for those sleeping rough in Indian River County with an aim to get people off the street and keep them safe and healthy until they can get back on their feet. Two buses are currently accommodating 36 people for an overnight stay (one sleeps 30; the other 16), and an overflow for cold weather nights are sleeping in cots within the confines of The Source building. Operating 365 nights a year, most all of the nights the buses are full.
At the conference, Zorbaugh and Orozco had the opportunity to share their vision with colleagues from around the country. They were encouraged to see communities from multiple states express interest in investing in their solution and working together to build emergency shelters for those in need.
“It was a powerful few days participating in this event,” expressed Zorbaugh now back at his desk in Vero Beach. “Sharing the stories, the miracles, the people who have been helped over time and now living a life of dignity, as well as the people who helped make this happen like the staff does at The Source, was tremendously gratifying. We will take any opportunity we can to share our stories and goals. Next in line is a webinar I am speaking at later this month for homeless providers. If our experiences and success stories can help others, we are here to share.”
I am Ministries DBA The Source is a Christian social outreach ministry that has been empowering communities into a lifestyle of service for the homeless since 1995. Founded in Indian River County, the organization serves its homeless neighbors through core programs that include Dining with Dignity-a culinary employability training program, Dignity Catering and Dignity Food Trucks, Dignity Buses-mobile overnight emergency shelters sleeping nearly 40 nightly, Dignity Village-20 affordable housing units, as well as a myriad of programs and services that instill a sense of community. For more information on The Source, contact Executive Director Anthony Zorbaugh at 772-564-0202, Ext. 204 or visit www.iamthesource.org
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a United States-based organization addressing the issue of homelessness. The Alliance provides data and research to policymakers and elected officials in order to inform policy debates. They also work on the local level provide community partners with information on best practices and technical assistance. For more information, visit endhomelessness.org.