Group making progress on Sarasota homeless camp

Group making progress on Sarasota homeless camp

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SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Over the past year, the city of Sarasota has been exploring many options to help the area's large homeless community.

One charitable group has just set up a center to offer services and clothes and they have big plans for the future.

Lorca Rivera has lived a normal life. She has a hardworking husband and a loving family.

But in the past two weeks, their lives have changed dramatically, and it could happen to anyone.

"We're currently homeless right now," said Rivera.

She said her husband recently lost his job at a gas company.

"At this point he's looking for a job, and he's been doing some side work, but it's not enough to bring to the house and pay a rent," she said.

Rivera fought back tears saying, "You can have everything, and in a blink of an eye, you can lose everything. You can lose your home, you can lose your family, you can lose everything. And that's exactly what happened to us."

So she's spending time at a four acre plot of land behind Washington Boulevard called 'Sanctuary Sarasota'. Right now it has some port-o-potties and a trailer.

But Vallerie Guillory of ‘Trinity without Borders' is proud of what her group has started here.

"This is the star of my eye," she said with a smile.

This area offers the homeless a place to hang out and eat. The trailer stores supplies and clothes and homeless advocates pay visits to offer help to those who want to transition to a new life.

Trinity without borders recently set up garbage services at the sanctuary, and they're also working to wire it up for electricity.

Guillory said, "It's a center for people to come to know that there is somewhere they can come to communicate across the lines."

Trinity without Borders has huge plans for ‘Sanctuary Sarasota'. She envisions a future homeless camp, complete with hydroponic gardens, a fellowship hall, a playground, and even tiny houses dotted all throughout this area.

These 'tiny houses' are trailers that can house four people, with a kitchen, eating area and bathroom- all in around 80 square feet of space.

But all of these expansion plans are still on the drawing board.

"I'd like to see it as a sustainable community, a community that is able to sustain itself," Guillory said.

So ‘Trinity without Borders' will keep doing what they can to help people like Rivera.

Rivera said, "By [Guillory] doing this and getting the word out, that's going to help not only the single homeless people but the families to not separate and be together."

And hopefully ‘Trinity without Borders' can do a lot more in the future.

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