'Pirates Cove': Florida Homeless Population Builds Their Own Paradise

12/24/2010 11:28 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Herald-Tribune

A red-tinged skull hangs on one side, and crossbones on the other, at the entrance to one of Sarasota County's hidden neighborhoods.

"DO NOT ENTER!!! Danger!! Stop Now! or else. Thank you" reads a sign aimed at visitors who venture down a wooded path, through pines and palmetto, to a clearing behind a drugstore and a busy intersection.

The path leads to Pirates Cove, where, in a circle of tents and tarps, a few members of Southwest Florida's growing homeless population try to survive the downturn in an outdoor existence reminiscent of pioneer life.

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