Cavalry Arrives To Help Apartment Residents Camped Out In Parking Lot Of Condemned Buildings

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – There was more cavalry than those needing help at the Civic Towers public housing complex in Miami Wednesday, condemned by the city after damage from Irma.

Some 50 residents have been camping out in the parking lot or in their cars for days, with no place to go. Lots of help has arrived at the complex at 1855 NW 5th Avenue.

“We have been providing hydration, meals, and help for these individuals,” said Robert Boltanado of the American Red Cross.

A Miami police officer squatted by a resident sitting in a lawn chair, translating an English language update for the man.

Volunteers came with water and food, like Antonio Mendez’s church group.

“Disasters usually bring unity. What we need is more unity, but not disasters,” Mendez said as he handed out hotdogs.

Just regular folk also came to help.

“I just saw this on morning TV and I thought I would come out and volunteer,” said Cathy Butler, giving people bottles of water.

The fondest wish for the displaced residents?

“To stop sleeping here in the parking lot. We have had elders who have already collapsed,” said resident Darianne Diego.

Their fondest wish began to come true as the afternoon went on.

“Right now we have 50 rooms ready to move some of these residents into hotels,” said Alyn Fernandez, an aide to U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Actually, not hotel rooms, but 50 extended stay apartments that were booked by Redwood Housing, the complex’s owner. They are enough to handle all of the families still homeless.

“You don’t know how thrilled I am,” said resident Dayamis Maymir. “I have two kids.”

FEMA field teams, using wireless notepad computers, were rapidly processing applications to more quickly get the displaced out of the heat.

It was expected that all of the remaining residents at the complex would be in a comfortable, air-conditioned apartment by Wednesday evening.

More from Gary Nelson
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