'Don't leave us behind': Jacksonville community pleads for help recovering from Hurricane Irma

Many folks on the Northside don't have insurance and are now struggling after Irma.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As cleanup continues on the First Coast post-Hurricane Irma, one Northside neighborhood residents say they are barely getting by.

Many had no insurance when Irma hit and they say it's hard not knowing where to turn.

"We need help," said neighbor Alton Gordon.

Gordon, including most of his neighbors, said they lost everything. Gordon lives on Ken Knight Dr. N. He's lived in the area for more than 50 years.

"The wind was blowing and the roof started leaking," he described. "It (Hurricane Irma) blew my glass out of my door. So, I knew something was happening."

Gordon was home with his children when Irma tore through the First Coast, leaving many devastated.
     
Water from the Ribualt River flooded Gordon's neighborhood.

"The water was up to my chest," Gordon recalled.

When the water began rushing into his home, Gordon said he put his children in a boat and pushed them to safety.

Then, he and his brother went back to the current, several times, to pull their neighbors to safety.

Hurricane Irma has been no match for the resilience of the First Coast.

The city continues to press forward, yet, one look at Gordon's community, it appears the city is moving forward, without them, he said.

Denise Hunt with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition said she got word that the neighborhood was dire need of help after going almost six days without power and clean water.

"The sewer was backing up," she said. "They couldn't flush their toilets. People were using the bathroom outside. It was just unbelievable."

Hunt said it's been difficult for people in the community to get assistance.

"Money is being given to different agencies and they (residents) say that they call the agencies, 211, and they keep getting -- going around in circles." she said. "They aren't really getting nobody. "

Hunt got the word out on social media and made calls to city leaders.

JEA unclogged the sewer line, according to Hunt.

Donations of food and school supplies began pouring in and Hunt says locals carried away as much debris as they could.

However, many families are still without bare necessities like: bedding, appliances, toiletries, clothing, and furniture.

Hunt said she will not forget them, "We're trying to sustain the people here to have a decent quality of life. Just try to make sure that they are OK and these children are OK," she said.

If you would like to donate items to help this community recover, you can reach out to Denise Hunt on Facebook by clicking here

     

 

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