Passengers are ready to
board the Dignity Bus provided
by The Source,
a Vero Beach outreach ministry
offering a place for the
homeless to sleep safely.
Dignity Bus offers the homeless an innovative place
to rest overnight in Brevard and Indian River counties
BY KERRY FIRTH
t any given time, there are approximately 250
homeless people living in Indian River County
and between 3,000 and 3,500 in Brevard County.
Some sleep in cars. Others live in tents. Still others
simply throw an old blanket on the ground in the
woods and try to get a few hours rest.
They are everyday people who are simply down on their
luck and struggling to get back on their feet. In addition to
the basic need for food, clothing and housing, what these
people really need is a good night’s sleep to face the hurdles
of the following day.
The Source is a Vero Beach-based Christian Outreach
Ministry that has offered life changing services to residents in
crisis since 1995. It recognized the critical need for the homeless
population to get a good night’s sleep and introduced the
Dignity Bus to Indian River County in March 2021.
The bus is a 45-foot vehicle that’s been converted to an
overnight shelter for those who have nowhere else to go. Its
customized interior 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. While it
is not a long-term solution to homelessness, it does provide
7,300 temporary nightly sleeps yearly.
“We designed this initially for our culinary students who
were working toward a job but had nowhere to go at night,”
said Anthony Zorbaugh, executive director of The Source.
“So, we got creative. A donor bought us a bus and we had
it retrofitted in Orlando for a cost of about $100,000. The
overnight accommodations have been at full capacity since
FIRST OF ITS KIND
The Dignity Bus model, which was the first of its kind in
this country, has been so successful that other cities have been
inquiring as to how they can utilize the safe sleep concept for