As people throughout the state of Florida fled to shelters ahead of Hurricane Irma over the weekend, Volusia County was redirecting the homeless to separate shelters than those housing everyone else.
Video from The Daytona Beach News-Journal showed a group of homeless people being turned away after being dropped off at David C. Hinson Sr. Middle School, which was turned into a shelter. In the video, the group was told by two men, dressed in what appear to be police or security uniforms, that they couldn’t stay, and were directed to a bus that would transport them to a shelter specifically intended for the homeless. When one of the men in the group pointed out that they had signed up to stay at the shelter at the middle school, he was told by one of the men that, “Right now, you do not have somewhere to currently reside, so either you go there or leave. It’s plain and simple.”
When the homeless man attempted to clarify that the reason the group had to go on the bus transporting people was because they were homeless, the second of the two men responded stating, “No, you can walk [to the shelter] if you want to. You don’t have to go on the bus.” One of the men redirecting the group then confirmed that “This is for the general public, yes”, but claimed that “because you don’t have a place to stay, has nothing to do with how we look at you.” The other man told the group, “We have a separate shelter for homeless.” He apologized, saying that the matter was “a misunderstanding on the officer’s part that dropped you off here”, and explained that they learned there was a shelter for the homeless after the group was brought to the middle school.
The group ultimately took their belongings with them and headed to the bus. The video from The Daytona Beach News-Journal also showed a woman in a wheel chair shouting that they were being discriminated against, as none of the people without homes were being redirected. You can find the video below: