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

The Ocala City Council voted not to renew Matthew Brower's contract as city manager on Tuesday. Brower's current contract will expire on Dec. 21.

Ocala City Manager’s Contract Not Renewed

The request to reappoint Matthew Brower as Ocala’s city manager was rejected on a three-to-two vote by the Ocala City Council. Brower was appointed city manager in February 2011, and his contract will now expire on Dec. 21.


Victoria Rusinov administers FluMist to a child at the Control Flu clinic at Littlewood Elementary School.

CDC Studies Effects of Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Over Traditional Shot for Children

Recent studies suggests a nasal spray form of the flu vaccine is more effective than the flu shot in healthy children ages 2 to 8, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Meg Taylor, 31, spins fire beside the drum circle at the Jam.

Gainesville’s Jam Set to Close

Local bar and music venue The Jam will close its doors this November after lease troubles and other plans for the area.


IMG_2694

Pizza and Parrot Lovers Come Together

Parrots and Pizza, a local group that meets monthly at Napolatano’s Restaurant in Gainesville, works closely with the Open Wings Rescue and Sanctuary in a joint effort to get attendees of the event to adopt parrots in need of new homes.


IMG_1085-200x300

Santa Fe Apes Get a New Home

Two-year-old Rainer received her first extreme home makeover, with renovations costing $350,000. Her new space is 70 feet in length, complete with rope courses, trees and tunnels.


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