South Florida Couple With Newborn Kicked Out of Home Days Before Hurricane

Jamira Kennedy and her son.
Jamira Kennedy and her son. Brittany Shammas
Jamira Kennedy and her fiancé were sitting with their 1-month-old son Wednesday morning, talking about stocking up on food for Hurricane Irma, when they were startled by two loud knocks at the door. It was the police.

Just days before the most powerful Atlantic storm in history is set to arrive in Florida, the couple says they and their baby were kicked out of their home after their roommate accused Jamira’s fiancé, John Bradham, of threatening him.

The couple had nowhere to go. For hours on Wednesday, they say, they walked and took the bus from shelter to shelter in Broward County, pushing their son in a stroller. They showed up at the homeless encampment near Stranahan Park, where they lived before finding the house in Fort Lauderdale, to ask whether anyone had heard when the hurricane shelters would open.

“I’m not really worried about me right now,” Kennedy, age 29, says as her son sleeps in Bradham’s arms. “I’m more worried about my baby than anything. I ain’t worried about nothing else.”

Broward County court records show that Antonio Brooks filed a temporary restraining order against Bradham this past Tuesday. In his petition for the protective order, Brooks wrote that Bradham had threatened and pushed him, adding, "I've made my share of mistakes, but I've tried to change my life and just want to live in peace." Bradham and Kennedy deny those allegations.

But either way, it's unclear why Kennedy and the child were also removed from the house on NW 14th Court in Fort Lauderdale when the restraining order is against only Bradham, especially considering the imminent threat from Hurricane Irma.

Brooks did not immediately return a call seeking comment. New Times also reached out to the Broward Sheriff’s Office but hasn't received a response yet.

Kennedy says they were turned away at homeless shelters, told there was no space or they were evacuating for the hurricane. The couple doesn't have enough money to stay at a motel. Though many of the homeless people who stay near Stranahan Park plan to ride out the hurricane on the street, Kennedy says she, Bradham, and their baby will go to a hurricane shelter as soon as they’re able.

But Broward shelters won't open until noon Thursday.

“We’ll be OK tomorrow, most definitely,” Kennedy says. “It’s just tonight.”
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Brittany Shammas is a former staff writer at Miami New Times. She covered education in Naples before taking a job at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. She joined New Times in 2016.
Contact: Brittany Shammas