Orange County teacher goes homeless for 30 days to raise awareness



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - On July 4 while many are celebrating America's independence with friends and family, an Orange County teacher will start living on the streets for a month in a new kind of social experiment.

When teacher Tom Rebman leaves Lake Eola on Wednesday, he'll go home to his refrigerator, clothes and bed. When he leaves Lake Eola on Friday, he isn't sure where he'll sleep.

"I really don't' have any plans," said Rebman. "I've intentionally not made any plans or scoped anything out."

The Orange County middle school teacher and Navy veteran plans to live on the streets for 30 days, beginning Friday.  Rebman said he wants to raise awareness and $100,000 for the people who don't know when their homelessness will end.

"There's a lot of people who are really good, hard-working people who are just trying to make it," he said.

The weekend forecast looks like rain, but Rebman said he won't have an umbrella to protect him, and he's hoping to rely on the kindness of strangers and public resources to make it through the 30 days.

Rebman plans to only take the clothes on his back, his ID, phone and charger. He said he'll only use his phone once a day to update social media about the experience.

He also said he hopes to show people by using public resources that there's a way out of homelessness.

"I might find out that it's impossible, the resources aren't there, it's too hard," said Rebman.

Rebman said donations he receives will go to Orange County Public Schools, Second Harvest and the Coalition for the Homeless.

Channel 9 talked to the Coaliton's CEO on Wednesday about the homeless battle thousands are facing.

"And it's not so much a lack of job, it's just that they aren't earning the wages necessary to make ends meet," said CEO Brent Trotter.

Channel 9 learned more than 7,200 of Orange County's school students are homeless, which doesn't include their parents and siblings, which is why Rebman hopes his month on the streets pays off.

LINK: Teacher's Homeless and Hungry Project