Fresno woman using porta-potties to help homeless community

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Whether she's finding them an avenue to sobriety or offering basic needs from healthcare products to haircuts, Gordie Ochinero-Bermudez proves she'll go the distance to help the homeless.

Her latest endeavor is pedaling 470 miles from the Bay to Los Angeles to raise awareness and funds for the homeless on what she calls the Porta-Potty for Dignity Ride.

"To make a statement to say our community, our houseless community deserves to have some dignity and use the restroom in private like all of us," she said.

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Homeless for three years in Sacramento, battling addiction and a neurological event, Gordie was able to heal through helping others.

"Here I am, talking cycling to make a difference, so I felt like they helped me want to live again and care about something more than myself," she said.

Over a span of four weeks, Gordie raised more than $7,000. It was enough to buy six porta-potties, one ADA-compliant restroom and a washing station.

The owner of the shopping center on Van Ness and Belmont gave Gordie the go-ahead to place the facilities on the property.

As someone who's been homeless, Gordie says this is more than an area to wash up as the lack of stability for something as simple as a morning routine takes a toll on your mental health.

"It's very torturing, it's struggling, it's embarrassing, it's not humane," she said. "It doesn't give you any dignity. It adds to your mental illness in the streets. Our homeless community deserves to have some dignity go to the bathroom in private and feel like they're equal."

Celebrating the achievement, Gordie treated the community she's helping to a BBQ and health products.

It doesn't stop here for Gordie and her team of volunteers. She's working on a nonprofit, as well as trying to team up with Fresno City College to get the homeless vaccinated.

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