Hurricane Survivors Struggle To Find Shelter After Losing Everything

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Hurricane Survivors Struggle To Find Shelter After Losing Everything
Displaced Fort Myers residents are camping out at a Walmart parking lot after Hurricane Ian.

For Kurt Bartholomew, reading a book is the one thing that is getting him through the day. 

"Wonderful author. I spent six days a week at the library," said Bartholomew.

He says he's gone through tough days before but nothing as painful as having no place to live.

"That's me. It looks like chaos. Organized chaos," said Bartholomew.

Now, he's camping out at a Walmart parking lot outside Fort Myers.

The few things he has, were donated to him.

"They gave me a mattress; they gave me a tent. I bought that bag and put everything in it. So, it is what it is," said Bartholomew.

Bartholomew says he lost everything.

"Oh yeah. Start over. Keep it to a minimum because I got to carry it around," said Bartholomew.

One could say Bartholomew's resilience is admirable.

"We probably had storm surge between 14 and 20 feet from sea level. I was covered in mud. I was disgusting looking," said Bartholomew.

The 64-year-old man isn't the only one camping out in this parking lot, Newsy has seen several improvised tents scattered around the lot. Residents who once had a home but lost it all to Hurricane Ian, some of them scared of getting kicked out of this lot.

What's next for Bartholomew?

"Find a place to spend the night. I've got friends, new friends working on that. We don't have any solid answers to that. I don't want to go to an evacuation shelter," said Bartholomew.

"Find a place to spend the night. I've got friends, new friends working on that. We don't have any solid answers to that. I don't want to go to an evacuation shelter," said Bartholomew.

Bartholomew explained why he decided against the shelters. 

"Too many people, I suspect there's going to be crime. I talked to someone who stayed there, and he said it's like jail. You're not free to come and go. This is what I've heard," said Bartholomew.

In the same lot campers have been doing laundry and taking showers in free facilities.

Volunteers are giving out food, water, and basic essentials such as personal hygiene items.

"I bought this so that the volunteers would have some coffee," said Bartholomew.

As for Bartholomew he holds his book dear the only thing keeping him company as he searches for his new life.