Woman living in car creates tension in Orange Park neighborhood

She bought the land for $5,000. Now, she's sleeping in her car on the land. Neighbors want the car gone.

ORANGE PARK, Fla. - A woman living out of her car is creating tensions in a quiet neighborhood in Orange Park. 

Athena Cadence, 30, made national headlines last year after going on a 64-day hunger strike to protest her treatment as a transgender woman inside a San Francisco jail.

A few days ago, she gained attention again after neighbors and Orange Park Police discovered she's been living inside her car on an empty lot with swampland.

Court documents show Cadence recently purchased a two-acre lot on Plainfield Avenue in Orange park for $5,000. Her car parked on the edge of property.

"There's a tarp on her car and it's on the side of the road, so initially when you drive by it looks like it has been abandoned or there's been an accident," neighbor John Gordon said.

According to Orange Park Town Manager Sarah Campbell, Cadence is within her legal rights to live on the property.

"We don't have any local codes or state laws that prohibit anyone from living in a car on their property," Campbell said. "We are looking into a long-term strategy to remedy camping codes that could change this situation."

Officials said Cadence created a GoFundMe page to build a new home, however town inspectors have not surveyed the property to deem if the land will pass building codes.

First Coast News made several attempts to find and contact Cadence, including her friends and family, but did not receive calls back during the time of this story.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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