As Hurricane Matthew approaches Florida, Gainesville’s homeless population is unsure of where to go.
Inhabitants at Dignity Village — the campground off NE 39th Avenue that over 100 of Gainesville’s displaced call home — are faced with the decision of forsaking their possessions for safety or taking the risk and riding out the storm.
After the damage the west coast received from Hurricane Hermine, Gov. Rick Scott is urging Floridians to follow local evacuation orders, if issued. Theresa Lowe, the executive director of the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry, is urging everyone to take this storm seriously.
“I know that [for] Hermine we kind of made a fuss about it and it was not that big of a deal. But this is not a tropical storm — this is a major hurricane, so people need to be prepared.”
The only death reported from Hermine was of a homeless man in Marion County, who was camping in the woods behind a convenience store when a tree fell on his tent.
“Everybody says, ‘Oh, well you’re living in a tent.,'” Dignity Village resident Barbara Hargrove said. “These aren’t just tents — these are our homes.”