Zebra Coalition transforming an old hotel into housing for homeless youth


  • Image via Zebra Coalition/Instagram
The old Davis Park Motel will be a new home for about 35 homeless youths.

The Zebra Coalition is an organization that assists LGBTQ+ youth from ages 13 to 24 with supportive services and housing. The organization plans to take over a portion of the building and create its first stand-alone housing building for youth in the Central Florida area, with 20 single and double occupancy rooms.

Zebra Coalition executive director Heather Wilkie told the Orlando Sentinel that they've completed all the permits for the building and applied for city and county funding. The project is a partnership with Park Lake Presbyterian Church, which owns the building.

The hotel is currently the home of several art studios. The church converted a portion of the hotel into the Faith Arts Village Orlando (or FAVO) after buying the property to provide overflow parking for their congregation. In addition to providing studio space, FAVO hosts art walks and studio visits — though the monthly events stopped during the coronavirus pandemic, they've recently relaunched.

The Sentinel reported that Wilkie expects to have the housing ready in 16 months, but the process could take longer if the organization is not granted funding quickly.

Currently, the organization has 11 beds, but they are located in different locations across the Orlando area, so having this former motel as their new home will be a dream come true for them.

To learn more about the Zebra Coalition, to get help or to donate, go to their website.

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