Dignity driver Kyle and The Source executive director Anthony Zorbaugh gave Magic
Johnson, center, a tour of the bus after a recent panel discussion on achieving health
equity through housing in Orlando.
76: SPACE COAST LIVING | SPACECOASTLIVING.COM
Passengers join The Source employees, Robin Herow, third from right, JR Gonzales,
second from right, and Zorbaugh, kneeling, before its nightly journey.
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, which was originally paid for with an
Impact100 grant. The overnight accommodations have
been at full capacity since its inception.”
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 their own communities.
One of the first cities to inquire was Palm Bay, just 30
miles north of Vero Beach. Following meetings and
presentations to city officials, plans began for the
development of the second Dignity Bus to serve South
Brevard County. A partnership was established between
The Source, the City of Palm Bay and the St. Vincent De
Paul Society of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Palm Bay.
The Palm Bay Dignity Bus is slightly smaller at 40
feet, with 16 secure pods and all the bells and whistles
providing 5,840 safe sleeps per year. Zorbaugh retained
the blueprints for the original bus and found a retrofitter
in Clewiston who completed the second bus for
The Source paid for the bus, insurance and hired the
staff and started operating in Palm Bay immediately.
The Palm Bay City Council gave it $8,900 to get it
started and Community Foundation for Brevard has
awarded The Source grants to help defray costs.
The arrival of the bus in January was perfect timing. Just
a few weeks earlier, a fire gutted South Brevard’s only
cold weather shelter at Truth Revealed Int’l Ministries
on Palm Bay Road. Zorbaugh and Bishop Merton L. Clark,
who oversaw the shelter, quickly worked to redirect those
seeking shelter to the Dignity Bus.
Volunteers from the St. Vincent De Paul Society of St.
Joseph’s Parish have taken over the operations of the
bus, registering guests for the night, providing them
with a nightly meal and helping them find ways to
improve their lives.
“We’ve been at almost full capacity every night,” said
Bruce Brosnahan, president of the St. Vincent DePaul
Society. “We have an aide and a driver on the bus each
night making sure there are no problems and tending
to their comfort. Every Friday we provide them with
mobile showers, haircuts and beard trims so they look
presentable for their job searches.”