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

Gainesville's Labor Daze Fest attracted attendees for music and political conversation. Jon Uman, candidate for State House 21, was also in attendance.

Labor Daze Fest Provides Venue for Music and Politics

Gainesville’s annual Labor Day event, Labor Daze Fest, attracted visitors for fun as well as for political conversation. Minimum wage and labor unions were among the topics some attendees hoped to hear more about.


Alachua County Sheriff’s Office To Supervise Waldo After Ticketing Charges

A plan, under development, would allow the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to supervise Waldo police operations after allegations that the former chief and interim chief established illegal ticketing quotas.


University of Florida President Bernie Machen is doused with ice water for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Machen was nominated to participate in the nationwide campaign by Kéran Billaud, a Ph.D. student at UF.

UF President Participates in ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

University of Florida President Bernie Machen participated in the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” on Monday. Machen nominated all YouTube viewers as well as the president of UF Student Government and the vice president of the UF Division of Student Affairs.


State Buys Land For Florida Greenway

State park managers have said they will be buying or trading land in Marion, Palm Beach, and Jackson counties. This is to fill the gaps of the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway, a recreational outdoor area that spans 110 [...]


The charred remains of a Levy County home are all that remain following a fire that killed two people early Wednesday morning, August 20, 2014. (Virginia Hamrick/WUFT News)

Two People Die in Levy County Home Fire

Local law enforcement and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating a mobile home fire that occurred in Levy County early Wednesday morning.  Lt. Scott Tummond of Levy County Sheriff’s Office said the Bronson Fire Department responded to calls at [...]


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