The Source in Vero Beach and The Bernard Egan Foundation has purchased the Pelican Island Cottages on 11330 U.S. Highway One near Sebastian, Florida, now named Dignity Village.
The Source says the property will not be used as a Homeless Shelter, and the property itself will remain a motel/hotel. The zoning of the property will not change.
According to a press release The Source sent to Sebastian Daily, Anthony Zorbaugh, Executive Director, said they have been seeking land for Dignity Village, a self-contained community for their programs. He explained that it would offer the opportunity for work, prayer, programs, dining, and affordable housing for low-income renters in Indian River County.
Zorbaugh says The Source offers new ways of helping people out of homelessness rather than perpetuating it. Dignity Village is a perfect example of what they strive to do, according to Zorbaugh.
“Once we discovered this beautiful parcel of land located minutes away from Sebastian’s Riverfront District (in between U.S. One and Indian River Drive), we knew this was meant to be our long-awaited Dignity Village. This is our first foray into affordable housing for those in our community in need of having a roof over their heads,” Zorbaugh said.
Pelican Island Cottages was a former vacation resort, just under an acre of land with 15 one-bedroom and 4 two-bedroom efficiencies. The property’s renovation is now underway, with a projection of full occupancy sometime in late spring.
The press release also noted individual air-conditioned units would be repainted indoors and outdoors, fully furnished with new furniture and appliances, towels and linens, well-equipped kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs, and high-speed Wi-Fi.
The units have either attached screened-in porches or outside patios, and a newly refurbished on-site laundry center has coin-operated washers and dryers. An air-conditioned multi-purpose Community Room on campus will also be renovated, offering space for resident programs, meetings, income-producing jobs, and socializing.
A storage area on the property will be suitably renovated for use as a chapel for the residents, and another area will have coin-operated vending machines filled with snacks and beverages. Encouraging a community feel, the property will have an outdoor kitchen, an outdoor movie theatre, and the entire area will be re-landscaped.
The Source began in 1995, initially serving the needy by offering free meals and Bible Study in a tiny 600 sq. ft. storefront in Osceola Plaza. The Source has since grown into a comprehensive assistance center, opening a 5,000 sq. ft. outreach facility on Commerce Avenue open seven days a week, addressing the complex needs of the poor and homeless in Indian River County. Their purpose is to offer life-changing possibilities to residents in crisis, offering critical care for physical, spiritual, civic, and social needs.
Zorbaugh claims the new Dignity Village is a perfect example of what The Source strives to do.
Concerns Near Sebastian
But while The Source is setting up Dignity Village for the homeless, residents and businesses along Indian River Drive have concerns over crime.
They feel The Source could’ve helped a lot more of the homeless had they spent the $1.3 million elsewhere than the small piece of property that only contains 7 to 9 cottages. The property is just over 1/2 acre.
Likewise, they feel the organization shouldn’t be in the tourist district. They said the property is “prime real estate” on U.S. Highway 1 and Indian River Drive.