Far away from the TV camera crews, in a room underneath Parking Garage No. 6 on the Florida International University campus, 33 Keys evacuees with special needs are being kept at a makeshift shelter, getting by with cots, a few bathrooms, boxed meals, raisins, cold Spaghettios, and an Italian greyhound chihuahua named Josie.
Another 80 are being housed at a pavilion at the Dade County Fairgrounds adjacent to the campus, along with hundreds of other evacuees. Some were homeless in the Keys. Others are residents of Florida Keys Outreach Coalition, which offers transitional and supportive housing for those in need.
They?ve been at FIU for a week ? before, during and after Hurricane Irma ? and they may have to stay there two weeks more.
© Jorge Plaza Marquez
© Jorge Marquez Plaza
They wear colored wristbands with their bed numbers, carry belongings in black garbage bags, and their tales make losing power and internet access seem like minor inconveniences.
Gregory Lane Kniseley, a 65-year-old amputee who lives in a trailer in Marathon, rode his wheelchair 3.2 miles in the rain from a holding center at Coral Park High School to the FIU campus last Thursday because he left the group to buy cigarettes and the bus took off without him.