Arcadia bike event ‘Ride for Tiny Town’ to help homeless

Could ‘tiny houses’ help the homeless in Southwest Florida?

Arcadia resident Patty Walker thinks so, and she’s putting the wheels in motion to make a difference through her first-of-it’s-kind bicycling fundraiser.

“We need to step up and help human beings that are less fortunate than we are,” Walker said.

Walker’s ‘Ride for Tiny Town‘ will offer different route options around Arcadia and support DeSoto Cares Homeless Services.

“It’s beautiful to ride out here in these roads along the citrus groves” Walker said.

DeSoto Cares Chairman Mike Provau plans to use money raised to help give shelter to those who don’t have it, “Our job is to get people out of the woods and out from under bridges and with a roof over their head.”

MORE: Ride for Tiny Town Facebook event

More than 25 percent of people in DeSoto County are living in poverty according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Provau says dozens were living on a six-acre lot in Arcadia located at the corner of Manatee and Magnolia Avenue.

“They could see how these poor people were living, and what we’re trying to avoid happening in future,” Provau said.

Now, DeSoto Cares is working with Walker and a team of all volunteers to transform that lot that was once a homeless encampment into a neighborhood of tiny houses for people who may otherwise be living on the street.

“We want to create a tiny town. Little tiny houses,” Provau said. “Hopefully gonna get them from a tiny home into their own home.”

Wesley Ramey, 65, is homeless in Arcadia and relies on DeSoto Cares for assistance. He’ll also join bikers this weekend to show support for the project. “They’re making it possible for me, if everything continues to go well, to have a place of my own.”

Walker says she just wants to give people  the opportunity to get back on their feet again.

For Saturday’s event she created bike routes for all ages and all levels of cycling experience — uniting riders behind one common goal, “I want every cyclist or rider to come to this event and be a hero. I want them to feel that they have made an impact for this tiny town project.”

Putting the wheels in motion to help the homeless.

After the city approves a plan for the neighborhood, DeSoto County students will help build the tiny homes.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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