Evacuees turn to Facebook to find shelter from the Hurricane Florence



Residents faced with four threats of the Hurricane Florence

Southeast coastline facing the wind, storm surge, flooding and extended rainfall; Griff Jenkins reports from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina on the evacuations.

JACKSONVILLE, N. C. – As thousands of flights are in the interior of the path of Hurricane Florence, a lot of people use social media to help find a place to stay.

Rely on the kindness of complete strangers, the organizers of a Facebook group say expensive and overbooked hotels have made it difficult for people to find a safe haven from the storm. A closed Facebook group with the name ‘Hurricane Florence Accommodation for Refugees” which was created during the Hurricane Irma, has been renamed to help them escape Florence. People have to ask to join the group.

“All of these people their houses free,” said Katlyn McBrayer, who is one of the administrators of the Facebook group. “Many of them will become your pets, some of them will allow you to have your cattle and your horses. They will feed you, to dress and they let you stay until, you know, it is safe for you to go back.”


McBrayer, says they see a large influx of people volunteering to help and shelter evacuees. The group has more than 3,500 members with the most people who offer to help the flight before the storm.

The social media page has already helped families connect with the opening of their houses. Vanessa Suggs is evacuating with her family and her dog Myrtle Beach, S. C. area.

“It was a great blessing for us, because we needed a place to stay,” Suggs said. “Now that this hurricane has more shifted in the direction of Myrtle Beach and more south a lot of people who were planning to stay are evacuating and there is not really that [much] to[s] to choose from.”


Suggs will evacuate to Athens, Georgia. area and stay in a cabin and the farm in the hands of a Georgia resident Anthony Chapman, who decided to help after watching news of the storm.

“I basically got on Facebook and just searched for hurricane evacuation [and] happen to hit that particular group,” said Chapman. “…I’m 62 and [my] children are grown,” he added. “Life is good, so it’s like what can I do to help someone out and kind of pay it forward if you [to] do a good deed for my fellow man and that was the thought behind it.”

In contrast to a traditional hotel or Airbnb reservation, the group is a person-to-person interaction method. Samantha Ainslie, who is a room available in the Fort Mill, S. C., area, says that they do not believe that those really in need will benefit from the help they receive.

“We open our home, because people in trouble,” said Ainslie, who lives in Fort Mill, S. C. “I don’t think people have the advantage of a situation like this, where there are people whose lives are really in danger and they need a place to stay.”

Willie James Inman, is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Jackson, Mississippi. Follow him on twitter: @WillieJames

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