WUFT News

A Tour of Gainesville’s Prison-Turned-Homeless Shelter

By on June 25th, 2013

A Florida Department of Corrections liaison tried about a dozen keys before he found the right one that would open the door to the main courtyard at the shuttered prison in the 2800 block of NE 39th Avenue.

Unlike the old prisons in movies, this one is rather different. Replacing big stone walls are chain linked fences. No barbed wire. The area surrounding the facility are woods about a mile down the road from the Gainesville Regional Airport.

This prison is in the backyard of a small correctional institute. This is where the city of Gainesville’s Commissioners plan to turn a shambled former prison into a functioning homeless community.

Joe Jackson, an advocate for the homeless and professor at the University of Florida’s Law School, said it’s ironic the city is turning an old prison into a homeless facility and he hopes they take the bars off the doors before people live there.

“Gainesville is so spread out it would be nice to have someone with everything all in one,” he said.

The corrections liaison said many homeless people live in the woods around the prison already.

But he also said if many of them move next door to the correctional institution, there could be conflict between the homeless and those at their institute competing for jobs. Like the homeless, most people who attend the correctional institute only have bikes or ride the bus as their source of transportation. Gainesville Mayor Ed Braddy said it hasn’t been a concern yet.

Braddy explains more about the project’s future below.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • dannyspeagle

    I am a homeless American who lives in the woods near the facility. I have been homeless for 6 weeks and 1 day (since June 8, 2014).

    Being homeless is a terrifying experience exacerbated by the lack of immediate support WE ALL HOPED would be available.

    I would like to share some needs I and others are currently having…

    Immediate Needs of EVERY person:
    1. Laundry soap
    2. Towel / Washcloth / Bar soap
    3. 5-gallon bucket (for washing clothes and bathing out of)
    4. Rope to use for clothes line
    5. Canned fruit and vegetables to tie us over for the day (no means of cooking)
    6. Drinking Water
    7. Bug repellant and Ant Killer (you should see my arms, legs and feet)
    8. First-Aid supplies (Peroxide, Bandages, Tape, Neosporin)

    Immediate Needs of a FEW persons:
    1. Tent / Tarp / Sleeping bag / Pillow
    2. OUTDOOR SHOES.

    Personal Note: As a person who was fortunate enough to receive a great education, I am surprised at the lack of support made available for those of us who are employable.

    Please help us.
    Danny Speagle

    • liah

      As far as I know st. Francis house gives free lunch every day and free showers and job opportunities.

 

More Stories in Local

danefeaturedimage

Dog Supports Owner With Chronic Illness

Justice, a young Great Dane, not only functions as a service dog, but has the ability to detect illness and distress in the people around him. The dog was rescued by Fallin Turner, 17, who lives with scleroderma and Systematic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and relies on Justice for both emotional and physical support.


The Preservation Jazz Band takes the stage at the frank street fair Thursday evening on Feb. 26. The band is from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jazz Band, Street Fair Draw Crowd To Downtown Gainesville For Frank Conference

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed on Bo Diddley Community Plaza on Thursday as part of a street fair. The fair was part of day three of the 2015 frank conference.


Construction workers from Superior Construction Company Southeast work on replacing the culvert underneath the Oakleaf overpass in Clay County on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

Oakleaf Overpass Closed During Culvert Construction

A deteriorated culvert failed inspection last month, closing the Overleaf overpass over State Road 23 until a new culvert is built. The construction has caused traffic issues and added to commute times.


Mishler rides Chief Free Spirit, and Cherry follows behind. Cherry, 7, is Chief Free Spirit’s daughter. Chloe Stradinger/ WUFT

Evangelical Cowboy Rides Through Gainesville As Part Of Larger Journey

Doc Mishler rides around the country on horseback preaching his Christian beliefs. He travels about 20 miles per day and rode through Gainesville on Monday.


Mike Myers, 68, illustrates how he created a notepad from an orange juice container. Myers said that the Repurpose Project is the culmination of his dream.

Repurpose Project Finds Success in New Location

After moving to its new location next to Satchel’s Pizza, The Repurpose Project has more than quadrupled in size and substance. The owners plan to expand with the additional space, adding a garden, play area for kids and an event area.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments