Florida Keys

People are finding makeshift housing in Keys after Irma. And it comes with a view

People with nowhere else to go following Hurricane Irma Sept. 10 have been living temporarily at the bayside former Quay property in Marathon
People with nowhere else to go following Hurricane Irma Sept. 10 have been living temporarily at the bayside former Quay property in Marathon Keynoter

Joe Logan has been staying in his 38-foot travel trailer for free with a view of Florida Bay that can’t be beat.

He’s been parked at the former Quay property at mile marker 54 in Marathon for about a week and said since the view is so beautiful and no one is pressuring him to leave, he’s going to stay a few more days.

“I actually came down for Fantasy Fest and stayed a little bit longer,” said the Brevard County resident. “You can’t find a spot like this on the water for free. This is a little safe haven right here.”

The property next to the Island Fish Co. was a restaurant and retail complex before Hurricane Wilma wiped it out in 2005 and now lies bare. Its assessed value is $2.2 million and the estate of Gus Boulis, who was murdered in Fort Lauderdale in 2001, owns the property. It sits next to a Marathon-owned boat ramp.

Now some people are using it as a place to live following Sept. 10’s Hurricane Irma, which damaged or destroyed thousands of residences in the Florida Keys.

“The police sit in the parking lot every now and then. Nobody has said anything,” he said.

Next to Logan’s fifth-wheel is a silver Honda packed full of possessions. He said a woman has been living in it but works in Marathon.

“She’s pretty optimistic. People come by and they want to leave her things and help her but most of the time she refuses,” he said.

A little farther away is another travel trailer where Terry Van Dyke has been living. The man who owns the trailer, which was salvaged after the storm, has been letting Van Dyke sleep inside for about a week.

“We’ve had police officers come in here every day. They know if they run our license plate, we’re not wanted,” Van Dyke said. “We’re not trashing the place or drunk. We’re dealing with it the best we can like thousands of other people who are right now and they know what we’re going through.”

Upon his first visit to the Keys in August, Pennsylvania native Van Dyke said he fell in love with the place. He went north prior to landfall of Hurricane Irma and then returned late last month with his motorcycle and truck. He’s happy camping at the Quay property for now and continues looking for a job in Marathon.

“I just want to be a dish washer,” said the former goldsmith.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219

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