Photo: Park model rentals at the Spanish Main RV Resort in Thonotosassa, one of many Sun RV resorts in Florida offering free one-month stays to health care workers to quarantine from their families.
62 RV parks in the state of Florida have banded together to provide a month’s worth of free housing to doctors and nurses who cannot safely stay in their own homes because of their exposure to patients with COVID-19.
The effort is coordinated by the Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition and the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, and most of the parks participating are operated by the Sun Communities association of RV resorts.
“Our members obviously recognize the magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis and want to help out in any way they can,” said Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. He said 62 parks have already offered to provide 30 days’ worth of housing to doctors and nurses at no cost and he continues to receive emails from park operators willing to participate.
Lynne Drawdy, executive director of the Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition, said the temporary housing is intended for Florida-based healthcare professionals who need a safe place to stay while they treat COVID-19 patients. “These are people who can’t risk going home and exposing their family members to the coronavirus,” Lynne Drawdy, executive director of the Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition, said.
The idea of using RV parks as temporary housing came from Fay O. Pappas, an attorney in Winter Park, who was worried about her brother, a local trauma surgeon who was having to live in his family’s garage for fear of contaminating his family if he unknowingly came into contact with the coronavirus. Pappas has been spearheading the collaborative efforts to leverage park model RV rentals that are already on-site at these campgrounds — self-contained, free-standing, cottage-like units with their own private kitchens, bathrooms and air conditioning systems. Most are empty due to Florida’s moratorium on vacation stays.
The Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition has shared the offer with hospitals across the state, and Cornwell is helping connect the healthcare professionals with the parks closest to their hospital locations.