Hurricane Ian is now a Category 4 storm. Here are resources for Florida's homeless
Category 4 Hurricane Ian is expected to make landfall in Florida Wednesday, between Tampa and Fort Myers. The National Hurricane Center upgraded the hurricane to a Category 4 storm early Wednesday.
About 2.5 million residents have been ordered to evacuate, with officials advising residents in Central Florida to stay with friends and family outside of the evacuation zone. But for unhoused people who may not have that option, shelters across the state are offering their resources.
Orlando is providing free transportation via buses to its five homeless and emergency shelters beginning Wednesday afternoon. Three of the shelters are pet friendly, according to the Homeless Services Network of Central Florida, a part of the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.
For details, people can visit here.
Orange County is opening up five high schoolsfor the general population, including those who have been evacuated and those living in low-lying areas.
Residents should arrive with their own supplies, though, such as food and water, clothing, bedding, first-aid supplies and more.
American Red Cross and Salvation Army shelters in the county do provide food and water, however.
Additionally, special needs shelters are available, and caretakers are encouraged to come along. Residents should call 311 for more information.
For residents with pets, they should bring the animal's vaccination record, crate and food and water to the county's pet friendly shelters.
For more information, visit https://www.orangecountyfl.net/EmergencySafety/shelters.aspx#.YzQFguzMKha.
Osceola County has five general population shelters (two are pet friendly), as well as one special needs shelter. There is also a separate shelter at a courthouse for sex offenders.
Seminole County has 15 general population shelters, with two being pet friendly. They provide breakfast, lunch and dinner, but encourage people to bring their own clothing, bedding, and medications.
General population shelters typically stay open two to three days, depending on the severity of the event.
Residents have to apply or call in advance to get into medically enhanced shelters.
For more information, visit https://www.osceola.org/agencies-departments/emergency-management/shelters.stml.
Sarasota County has a dozen evacuation centers, where residents must bring their own supplies, such as sanitizer, snacks and a flashlight.
To get to the centers, people can drive, use local transportation or be picked up at certain locations.
For details, visit https://www.scgov.net/government/emergency-services/emergency-management/evacuation-centers.
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