SARASOTA, Fla. — Around a thousand homeless people in Sarasota gathered at the Salvation Army for their annual Thanksgiving celebration.
“This is a nice place to enjoy a meal and a conversation and they can feel respected and loved,” said Major Chuck Whiten.
Whiten said they already believe next year’s meal will be larger than this year’s meal.
Sarasota County recently passed an ordinance banning homeless camps. The goal is to get people off the streets and into a shelter.
“The county has already started ten beds here with the option to go up to thirty,” said Whiten.
County leaders said the ordinance is a new mechanism to get people into a housing system. The ordinance does provide jail time for repeat violators who won’t comply.
Henry Rogers said he hopes homeless folks look to change their ways. Rogers was homeless for six years until earlier this year. He is now a volunteer for the Salvation Army.
"It’s tough it is really is, this life here, I would never give this up, look what I’m doing today,” said Rogers.
The ordinance takes effect in 2018.