Basin becomes floating community for homeless - FOX 13 News

Basin becomes floating community for homeless

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SEAPLANE BASIN (FOX 13) -

Many of us see homeless people living under bridges or in the woods, but more and more are moving off land and onto the water. 

Glen Grogg has been living on a vessel in the Seaplane Basin near Peter O. Knight Airport for nearly 25 years.

"When I first moved in here, there may have been 35 boats, if that," said Grogg. 

Now, there are more than a hundred vessels in the basin.  Most of them are abandoned, but there are some occupied by the homeless.  This area has become a floating community. 

"We are getting more homeless moving off land and grabbing boats, and they don't know anything about water or the boat," said Grogg.

He showed us around his large, blue sailboat anchored in the basin.  It was given to him by a Bay area family. 

Inside is a small sitting area. The restroom has a toilet, but he can't use it because there's nowhere to flush.  Instead, he uses what he calls a "port potty box."  It's a bucket with a toilet seat.

Just about all of his personal stuff is tucked neatly away. At the back of the boat is his bed and the kitchen.

Grogg uses an old camp stove to cook his meals.

"It's about four or five years old.  It's metal and rusted.  But as long as it works," he said.

Grogg keeps meat in a water cooler filled with ice.  He wraps the cooler with several towels to keep it cold. 

"I keep it covered up so the sun doesn't beat the cooler and melt the ice quicker. So I have two layers of towels on it. I keep supplies," he continued. "I usually keep everything inside zip lock bags to keep it from getting in the water, and that way doesn't get messed up."

Believe it or not, Grogg said ice is his biggest expense.  He buys several bags a week. In total, it's about $100 a month.  He admits this lifestyle isn't for everyone, but it sure beats living on the streets.

If you're wondering, living on a boat year round is legal. Florida Fish and Wildlife officers check up on these folks often to make sure the boat is registered and the vessel is in good condition.

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