FloridaSunny Living Center, Tampa, Florida
Established in 2018, Sunny Center Florida is a dedicated Community in Tampa, Florida, for Exonerees to live safely, securely and affordably.
“Our main goal is to assist exonerees to be able to reintegrate into society and live a happy, healthy life.” – Sunny
Realizing that housing was the biggest unaddressed problem facing the unique population they were working with, Sunny and Peter and their supporters decided they would buy a property to house exonerees.
In 2018 with the help of three incredibly kind donors, The Sunny Center Foundation bought a property for transitional housing in Tampa, Florida.
The Sunny Living Center is set on a half-acre with four individual units, each house surrounded by its own garden and picket fence, affording privacy to the exonerees, yet also giving them a feeling of connection with their fellow exonerees.
Two of the residents came directly from death row. Had it not been for The Sunny Living Center, their lawyers would have had no choice but to house them in hotels where they would have been isolated, experiencing continued disconnection from society.
Help to reintegrate into society
This community offers exonerees the opportunity to live safely, securely and affordably, with the necessary support system to give them the chance to transition, decompress and find their place in the world again, without being overburdened by responsibilities or expectations. They live with other exonerees, who understand their experiences and who can mentor them.
The focus for housing is mainly on newly released exonerees although there is also housing for other exonerees in transition.
All services are offered freely
Exonerees are offered a complete set of services to help them deal with the PTSD and other issues that need to be addressed. Among the team of kind volunteers are experts in dealing with PTSD, false imprisonment, counseling and social work.
The Sunny Living Center’s fulltime coordinator, Dorothy, oversees the community, helping members learn to manage the day-to-day details of their lives. She will assess and evaluate their needs and connect them with the appropriate services.
Sunny and Peter help with the spiritual healing needs of the community and Dorothy takes care of all practical matters.
Most clients receive no compensation – in fact, exonerees are not even entitled to the same services that would be available to other prisoners upon their release from prison. Sunny and Peter are working to ensure that public services are available for exonerees after their release.
Looking out for recently released exonerees
Although The Sunny Living Center relies upon attorneys and family and friends of exonerees to connect with the center, they try to stay aware of people being released and to make sure that attorneys know about the work they do so that their clients can benefit from its services.
“We always make sure we have one unit available for people in desperate need.” – Sunny
“We are so glad to have this opportunity to turn tragedy into triumph, to use the past as fertile ground for planting the seeds of hope and watching those seeds blossom into happy healthy lives.”