Camp No More in Destin

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

When 11 students form Poland and the Ukraine arrived in Destin this summer, they expected housing, jobs and transportation. When the housing fell through, a good Samaritan offered them space to camp out on his property, but now the city wants them out.

Life got a bit easier when the 11 students met Tom Curry.

“It was fixing to be a bad storm lightning and what have you, I picked them up, took them to where they were staying and realized what they were paying for, what they were getting and I was a little ashamed.”

So he invited them onto his property, though they don’t have much; one toilet, one shower, a small table.

It is admittedly makeshift, but Curry says the foragers enjoy it. It gives the tight-knit group a chance to stay together and the best thing it is free.

Recently, city officials ordered them out claiming the residential area was not a campsite, but now the city wants them in decent housing even though they want to stay.

Curry said, “I think they're our guests in this country and we don’t need to be charging the exorbitant fees especially when they're doing jobs that are needed.”

The city has said the students can stay until they find them all affordable housing.


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