Dade Commissioner Addresses Shelter Shortage & Frustration

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Too many people, two few places to put them in Miami-Dade.

When Mayor Carlos Gimenez issued mandatory evacuation orders this week that affected nearly 660,000 people – the largest evacuation in the county’s history. The county, however, vastly underestimated the demand for emergency shelters.

Eight shelters were originally opened and five quickly filled to capacity.

Stories of people being turned away because they had not pre-registered, long lines to get in, and shelter capacity issues quickly surfaced.

Friday morning, the county announced that four more shelters were open. Later in the day, they announced that they would open a total of 43 shelters, that will have a capacity of 100,000, open by Friday night.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez said he’s visited several of the shelters and heard the frustration.

“When you order an evacuation of over 650,000 people, and you only have eight shelters open, the math just doesn’t work,” said Martinez.

He said he was escorting a woman and two different families to a shelter in the Hammocks after they were turned away from other shelters and two of them ran out of gas.

Martinez said he also helped the police evacuate a trailer park due to safety concerns but there were no shelters nearby for them to go.

“If Irma comes as predicted or as we’ve guessed, a hundred mile winds or more through a trailer park, there’s going to be devastation. This is a clear and present danger to the people we are trying to protect,” he said.

A spokesman for the Red Cross, which runs the county’s shelters, said there are some was some positive news.

“I’m seeing good news and do you know why? Historically our community does not evacuate. Yet they are listening this time and bringing their kids, their food, their water, their supplies. And they are here in numbers and that is exactly what we want. So we are working actively with our partners at the county to make sure that additional shelters are opened, so we can give that help and hope to the community,” he said.

The 13 new shelters opened Friday morning are:
*Hialeah Gardens Senior at 11700 Hialeah Gardens Boulevard in Miami Gardens
*Barbara Goleman Senior at 14100 NW 89 Avenue in Miami Lakes
*Hialeah Middle School at 6027 E 7 Avenue in Hialeah
*Robert Morgan Educational Center at 18180 SW 122 Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade
*Highland Oaks Middle – pet friendly – at 2375 NE 203 Street in North Miami
*Ronald Reagan Senior at 8600 NW 107 Ave in Doral
*Country Club Middle at 18305 NW 75 Place in Miami
*W. R. Thomas Middle at 13001 SW 26 Street in Miami
*South Dade Senior at 28401 SW 167 Avenue in Homestead
*Coral Park Senior at 8865 SW 16 Street in Miami
*Lakes Stevens Middle at 18484 NW 48 Place in Miami Gardens
*American Senior High at 18350 NW 67 Avenue in Hialeah
*Hammocks Middle at 9889 Hammocks Boulevard in Miami

Each of the shelters will accept up to 2,000 evacuees.

The shelters at capacity and not accepting anyone new are:
*Felix Varela Senior High at 15255 SW 96th St in Miami,
*TERRA Environmental at 11005 SW 84 Street in Miami
*Darwin Fuchs Pavilion: Miami-Dade County Fair Expo Center (pet friendly)at 10901 Southwest 24th Street
*South Miami Senior High at 6856 SW 53rd St in Miami
*North Miami Senior at 13110 NE 8th Avenue in North Miami

Shelters that still have room are:

*Miami Carol City Senior at 3301 Miami Gardens Drive in Miami Gardens
*Miami Central Senior at 781 NW 95 Street
*South Miami Senior High: 6856 SW 53rd Street
*North Miami Beach Senior High: 1247 NE 167th Street

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