Friday, June 15, 2012

The Homeless Initiative Spends a day at horse rescue

Anthio was homeless in Tampa for over 3 months when we found him. As an experienced show horse trainer we managed to find him housing in exchange for being a ranch hand at a local equestrian farm. Good luck Anthio! A big Thanks to Glenda with Equestrian, Inc, for helping out the Homeless Initiative and giving Anthio a place to stay and to once again work with horses -- his life time passion.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day One: The Team Depot Turn Around

"Flip" Spent Most of the first day cleaning the home
After seven months of living out of a Salvation Army shelter located within the inner city Wilbern Leonard, known as "Flip" by his family, was anxious to get started.

"I've been up since 5:00 am waiting on you." Flip told me shortly after we pulled away from the curb and headed towards his soon to be home.  A carpenter and master craftsmen by trade Flip fell on hard times and ended up homeless and living in a shelter. He  wasn't happy about his circumstances and neither was his family who had read about the Homeless Initiative in a recent article and called for help.

After working with Flip for more than a few months now he showed all the attributes I was looking for to qualify for our most current "Homes for the Homeless" residential project. The most alluring personal attribute I look for in potential candidates is simply trust.

Ret. Deputy Jane Keys Riding Her Harley
We hand-pick likely homeless candidates on the streets that have a sincere desire and motivation to change their direction and course.  But, there is no homeless recovery without a home and that's where retired Deputy Jane Keys stepped-in with just the perfect opportunity -- a vacant rental property she owns sitting dormant and empty for almost three years.

As the selected homeless candidate, "Flip" will parlay his master craftsmen skills along with his sweat equity and refurbish the home in exchange for what he would have paid for rent.

It's a winning opportunity for everyone -- the home owner has her home refurbished and occupied for up to a year and a once homeless man now has a place to stay.

I Picked a Medium Oak Finish
When it's all done Jane Keys might not recognize her once dilapidated home -- with help from the Home Depot Foundation the two bedroom one bath 760 sf home will be completely refurbished over a three day period. Today I picked a medium oak wood floor that will cover the entire living area and both bedrooms. A barley used side-by-side refrigerator and flat top stove, all in pearl white, were delivered yesterday. Both the kitchen and bathroom will be gutted and retooled with new cabinetry, a pedestal sink, new windows and a two piece tub and shower.

The exterior will have a completely refreshed look from new paint to a refreshed landscape package. We are all looking forward to the completion date which should be within the next few weeks and as our most ambitious residential project we aim to please those that have a vested interest in our homeless recovery efforts.

At the end of "Flip's" first day he was happy to see the before and after difference in a full days work.  After months of vacancy the home had been a refuge for unwanted characters from the neighborhood along with their discards.

"I just kept throwing things out into the dumpster all day until it was all gone,"  Flip said. He was happy to spend a productive day on something that will be a worthy personal investment. His parting words at the end of the days heap said it all, "Pick me up first thing in the morning -- I'll be ready to do it all over again," Flip said.

Deputy Steven Donaldson
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
Homeless Initiative
District III Office: (813) 247-0330