[Hpn] Soaked By Hurricane Wilma,Homeless Now Face Cold

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Tue, 25 Oct 2005 05:19:35 -0400


Soaked by Wilma, homeless now face cold

Staff Writer

 October 25, 2005

DAYTONA BEACH -- Candace Patterson sat on a towel in the Homeless Assistance
Center shaking as rainwater dripped from her hair.
She recently changed into a dry pink shirt given to her from another
homeless person.
"I was very grateful," said the 42-year-old, who had spent the night in the
woods trying to shield herself from the rain with plastic her friend found.
Patterson, who said she has multiple sclerosis, was one of more than 100
people who came in out of the rain Monday morning at the North Street
center. The dining area generally opens at 11:30 a.m. for lunch, but opened
at 8 a.m. Monday because of Hurricane Wilma. Some watched television or
slept in chairs while others did laundry and took showers.
"They are in bad shape," said Lindsay Roberts, executive director of the
Volusia/Flagler Coalition for the Homeless, who served lunch with her
six-member staff and gave out dry clothes. "I could not sit home in my dry,
warm house knowing these people were out on the street."
Patterson and her friend, Daniel Miller, 46, who came down from Jacksonville
two weeks ago looking for work and help for her disability, weren't sure
where they would sleep Monday night with rain and a cold front moving
"I don't know what we're going to do," Patterson said, shaking.
"It's too much for people," Miller added. "I'm soaking wet, and it's going
to be 40-degree weather."
Some good news came Monday afternoon. The Rev. Troy Ray of Halifax Urban
Ministries said First United Methodist Church of Ormond Beach and First
United Methodist Church of Port Orange were opening Monday night to shelter
a combined total of 80 people.
"Most of these people already have a weakened condition," Ray said. "Some of
the older ones could get hypothermia from being wet and cold all day."
Many of the homeless said the county and city need to open shelters on bad
weather nights. The homeless coalition and the Salvation Army are planning
two new shelters to help more than 160 people, but they won't open until
next year.
More than a handful of the homeless people at the center Monday also said
they were forced to leave the Salvation Army's existing 36-bed Ballough Road
site early Monday morning after staying there the night before. The
Salvation Army generally requires people to leave at 6 a.m.
Capt. Mark Harwell, corps officer for the Salvation Army, said people were
asked to leave about 10 a.m. because a supervisor thought the weather was
clearing up when it actually was growing worse through about noon. But he
said about six or seven women with children were allowed to stay in the