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No firm plan yet for Duval emergency or homeless shelters ahead of hurricane

"I am just hoping for shelter to keep me dry and out of the wind and the rain," said Angela Eberhart, sitting on the corner of Julia Street with her purple suitcase.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Currently, no evacuations are being ordered and emergency shelters are not opening for Duval County ahead of Hurricane Ian, but Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says that could change.

First Coast News will keep you updated on the plan for emergency storm shelters as well as the plan for homeless shelters opening to help during the storm.

Sulzbacher anticipates opening its doors. Chief Development Officer Eileen Briggs says they usually welcome 30 to 40 people during storms. Some people who are homeless are hoping to retain their spots at other shelters where they sleep.

"I am just hoping for shelter to keep me dry and out of the wind and the rain," said Angela Eberhart. "So I'm gonna keep my fingers crossed."

Eberhart sat on the corner of Julia Street Monday with her purple suitcase. You may see her walking around downtown Jacksonville "to get the weight off," she says, since being hospitalized with COVID-19. She plans to ride out Hurricane Ian in the homeless shelter where she sleeps.

"I've been back in Trinity so I'll be there," Eberhart said. "Unless there's too many mothers with children and there's a lot of them here in Jacksonville. I'm just gonna pray and just keep positive."

Briggs says Sulzbacher has been helping more children and mothers than they have in past years. For the hurricane, they don't have a limit on how many people they'll open their doors to once their downtown location is open to men and Sulzbacher Village in Springfield is open to women and families as emergency shelters.

"Any person who's out there that is homeless that's on the streets or maybe in their car, we welcome them in during that critical time of the storm," Briggs said. "We make room for them even if it's a place on the floor with a mat, but we're able to accommodate everybody because we have two campuses now and there's plenty of room."

Briggs says outreach teams go out in vans to let the 230 people counted as "unsheltered" last year by Changing Homelessness know their doors are open. That count found more than 1,000 people were homeless in Jacksonville last year.

The open doors are part of how Eberhart says she stays positive.

"When that rain starts and those winds start who knows, you know?" she said. "But Jacksonville's pretty good about opening doors when bad storms come."

Stay with First Coast News for updates on the emergency shelters.

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