Formerly Homeless Musicians Form Band to Benefit the Homeless

The problem has been to educate the public on who the homeless are. What help is needed, where to go to volunteer. In this county we have close to 2000 children in the school system who are considered homeless. We have families, older people, teens, and veterans who need services.

Years ago the churches and the city envisioned having one place for the homeless to go to for services. The one thing the homeless wear out the fastest is their shoes just trying to get from one place to another place in the county for services. The idea was to have one building that would house all the services for the homeless in one place. The Open Door Band is a big part of the services offered. A place for the homeless to come for a hot cup of coffee in the morning, a hot meal from Our Daily Bread, a shower, a haircut, medical and dental services at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center.

Linda Gaines, an AmeriCorp/Vista Worker for the Community Coalition on Homelessness was approached by her boss Adell Erozer, “Linda I need a band for Stand Down.” The CCH has hosted a Stand Down for the last 10 years at the Palmetto Fairgrounds in the beginning of winter to help prepare the homeless veterans first and then the homeless population to meet the winter months which can get into the 30’s even in Florida. In the past they have tried to find a band that would donate it’s time, usually they have to pay for a band. Linda’s idea was to find players who were homeless or had experienced homelessness to form a band as part of the Speakers’ Bureau. Their mission would be educate the public on who the homeless are, how people become homeless and how the Community Coalition helps the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless. She began putting a band together in August 2011.

She started by putting up a sign that said “musicians wanted” at the Open Door and borrowed a guitar from her husband for any one purporting to be a musician to audition on. There have been a number of wonderful and very talented people who have played with the band and continue to give their time to play for a cause they feel very strongly about. Each of them has been homeless one time in their lives and have experienced the desperate feelings that come with homelessness, loss of hope, depression, hunger, cold, sickness, desperation, not knowing where to turn to next or having nowhere to turn too. Which is why they feel so strongly about the Community Coalition on Homelessness and the work it does with the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.

The band has been as large as 5 members but has a back bone of 3 steady players. Drummer Dwight Keeton, Ron Brandt Lead Guitar and bassist Billy Gaines with occasional guest musicians Connie Dillon, and John Jr. They personally play because they love to and want to give back to the community for help they have received in the past. The band’s purpose is to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless in Manatee County, educate the public on the Community Coalition on Homelessness, it’s services and where it is located and its mission to “Provide and facilitate services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless.”

More About This Charity




Most Effective Awareness Campaign by a Charity


Community Coalition on Homelessness


To provide, coordinate, and facilitate services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Manatee County, Florida.


  • The band has raised $1000 for CCH
  • CCH has raised $2,580,567 for program expenses, management and general, and capital projects in 2010-2011
  • This achievement helped more than 7000 people in 2011
  • CCH performs approximately 70,000 services monthly for the homeless

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