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Clay County facing shelter shortage

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Updated: 6/07/2013 6:32 pm
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla.-- Denny Ivey has lived through his fair share of disasters. He decided to hunker down when Hurricane Andrew hit, but says he won't be making that mistake again.

"When something comes like that and I got time, I'm out of here," he said.

We asked Ivey if he had a Plan B and he told us yes. In fact, he took us around back to explain.

"I could get underneath the house. There's plenty of room up underneath there."

John Ward, Clay County emergency management director, says they work hard to keep folks like Ivey safe. The issue is, there's a statewide shelter defecit. In Clay County alone, thousands would have no place to go if local families were forced to evacuate.

"We're looking at about 3,000 people short in our shelter capacity," Ward said.

Right now, 13 schools can be used as risk shelters across the county, as well as a few churches and one specifically for people with special needs. Despite challenges and money needed from the state, Ward says public safety comes first.
"Overall, we're going to do what we got to to do take care of our citizens," he continued.

Ivey is glad to hear that. Still, he says he'll stick with his plan.

"Get away as far as I can," he said with a smile.

Each year, the county applies for state money and grants to help with the shelter situation. Unfortunately, it's not up to them on whether or not it gets approved.
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