Florida Town To Give One-Way Bus Tickets To Homeless

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The town of Sarasota, Fla., plans to provide one-way bus fare to area homeless people.

The City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to put $1,000 into a “Homeward Bound fund” to finance one-way travel out of Sarasota.

The effort is part of a partnership with homeless non-profits Resurrection House and the Salvation Army reportedly to help reunite the homeless with their families, the Herald-Tribune reported.

Calvin Collins, a licensed mental health counselor and member of Sarasota's Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), told the Tribune that some have already been reunited with families.

It is unclear whether the families are provided with any assistance to feed and house and their homeward bound relatives.

Officials are hoping the public will match the money with donations.

Some Sarasota citizens were critical of the effort.

"Sounds like putting a Band-Aid on a bigger, deeper issue," Catherine Miller told ABC Action News. "It just displaces them because you feel more comfortable."

"We don't just want to send people away," Collins said, noting that HOT has helped 35 veterans get access to federal benefits. "We want to prepare people to go to their community and thrive and become a good citizen."

Two private donors have contributed $2,000 to the program, Huffington Post reported.

Other cities across the country have made a similar effort to bus out the homeless population.

"Sometimes they're better off going back home," Joshua Stansbury of the Salvation Army told CNN Money last year.

Sources: WTSP, Herald-Tribune, Huffington Post

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Franco Folini