Hurricane Ian aftermath: eighty three-12 months-outdated veteran joins new homeless inhabitants in FL

Hurricane Ian destroyed greater than 5,000 properties in Southwest Florida, and damaged virtually 30,000 extra in late September. 4 months later, a mannequin new period of homeless individuals are rising in Lee County. 

“individuals are out right here on the streets. They’re simply residing in disparity,” acknowledged Robert McCall, an eighty three-12 months-outdated veteran who’s at present homeless in Lee County. “They’ve taken care of themselves as a lot as date, however then they get the large letdown, and it is the d— shut to finish of their life.”   

Robert McCall is homeless for the essential time in his life. Hurricane Ian destroyed the veteran’s dwelling when the class 4 Hurricane slammed Southwest Florida with file storm surge. 

“My spouse is eighty five, i am eighty three. I wasn’t going to exit and get a resort, motel or something till we found the place we stood with our insurance coverage as a consequence of I did not should spend some enormous money and discover out that they weren’t going to pay. So we slept in our car for 36 days,” McCall acknowledged.

Four months after Hurricane Ian, some homeowners are still living in tents on Pine Island. 

4 months after Hurricane Ian, some owners are nonetheless residing in tents on Pine Island.  (Fox information)

The household is at present ready for an insurance coverage examine earlier than deciding their subsequent steps. They sleep in between automobiles, tents, and a donated RV on Pine Island. 

“each time we have acknowledged as the insurance coverage agency…they’d not even acknowledge our declare quantity, who we had been, or something. They acknowledged that we’d simply want to attend,” McCall acknowledged. “that might not the nation that i used to be raised in. The insurance coverage firms I think about have let all people down, as a consequence of all people’s ready in fact for money to see the place they stand or to have the power to place it to use to do one factor. We wouldn’t be right here proper now if we obtained it in a well timed method. They’re gonna say they’re overwhelmed and all the things else however these storms and these disasters have been occurring for simply a few years, and there is not any set off why our federal authorities and these insurance coverage firms may not reply in a well timed method.”

Beacon of Hope, a non-revenue group in Lee County, is counting what quantity of residents are homeless attributable to the Hurricane. Early estimates current a complete lot of former owners at the second reside in tents or their automobiles, and numerous extra reside in moldy properties that had been already condemned. 

“They promised me a FEMA trailer proper off the bat 4 months in the past or so.,” acknowledged Nicole Williams, a resident on Pine Island. “they do not have a timeline for me nonetheless nor have they responded to the continued rental assist so i am being pressured to stay in a condemned dwelling.”

The city of Naples, FL during Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. The streets are flooded and wind strongly gusts the trees. 

the metropolis of Naples, FL all by means of Hurricane Ian on September 28, 2022. The streets are flooded and wind strongly gusts the timber.  (metropolis of Naples)

Nicole Williams moved again into her dwelling on Pine Island, regardless of the dwelling being lined in mildew. Willams couch-surfed and stayed with mates for months whereas ready for a FEMA trailer to get back, nonetheless the trailer by no means arrived. 

“i’ve damaged mentally so many occasions you do not have any thought. Like I acknowledged, I even have been insanely blessed or i might not nonetheless be right here if not for my mates however residing in your good friend’s couch or of their spare laundry room. it is going to put on on you. these blessings will put on on you and all it is advisable to do is get dwelling and have a dwelling and have that peace and serenity and that sanctuary. that is purported to be yours,” Williams acknowledged in an emotional interview outdoors her dwelling. “I do suppose our federal authorities should reply for harming their people by not doing their job in a well timed method.”

inside the wake of Hurricane Ian, tens of 1000’s of properties had been damaged in Lee County. Volunteers think about the housing disaster in Southwest Florida is a lot from over.

“There’s so many people that want assist. There are people which have fallen by means of the cracks, their fundamental wants are nonetheless not being met,” acknowledged Dana Dodson, the Director of CPE–undertaking Hope. “What we’re making an try to do is convey consciousness to that and produce utterly different outdoors companies are accessible in and assist us, particularly right here on Pine Island.”


Dana Dodson is the Director and undertaking supervisor for CPE–undertaking Hope. The group is offering psychological well being providers to these affected by Hurricane Ian as an ingredient of disaster restoration. Dodson serves amongst the diverse hardest hit areas of Hurricane Ian: Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Collier Counties. The undertaking supervisor additionally personally is aware of how a lot Hurricane Ian devastated households in Southwest Florida.

“My private expertise… I did come from Pennsylvania, I obtained here down right here to do disaster aid. simply like the residents right here, additionally the volunteers that come down right here wouldn’t have areas to stay. So I do stay in my car. I spend time with mates that I’ve met right here of their properties, couch-looking, I’ve additionally slept in tents. I’ve principally slept wherever it was safe,” acknowledged Dodson. “There’s restricted entry to housing.”

Dodson believes an ingredient of the reply is outreach, making sure Lee County isn’t forgotten all by means of the prolonged restoration course of.

“i really feel that what we’re truly making an try to get hold of is to convey consciousness to the world. i really feel that people do not understand the devastation that is nonetheless right here. many people are realizing that there are nonetheless individuals with out areas to stay. There are nonetheless individuals with out the important wants being met. There are nonetheless individuals with no electricity on the islands, and even in Fort Myers,” Dodson acknowledged.


Drone video captures widespread damage in Ft. Myers days after Hurricane Ian's landfall.

Drone video captures widespread harm in Ft. Myers days after Hurricane Ian’s landfall. (Fox information)

The Federal Emergency administration agency has obtained greater than 911,000 purposes in designated counties from Hurricane Ian survivors in Florida. Of these, 378,000 have obtained assist by means of FEMA’s people and Households Program. A spokesperson with FEMA informed Fox information the remaining candidates ought to nonetheless be awaiting insurance coverage settlements, inside the tactic of submitting further documentation, or they might have been referred to a distinctive group for assist to fulfill their wants equivalent to our companions on the Small enterprise Administration or on the U.S. division of Agriculture.

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4 months later, FEMA stays to be working to maneuver journey trailers to Southwest Florida for eligible households. up to now, 226 households have been licensed to journey trailers (a hundred and one), mobile properties (seventy one) or direct lease objects (fifty 4). an further 299 journey trailer and mobile dwelling objects are being ready for occupancy and web site inspections are taking place for extra objects.

“Following the rapid response to Hurricane Ian, one in every of FEMA’s prime priorities is offering non everlasting housing for candidates who can not stay of their properties attributable to interrupt from Hurricane Ian,” the agency acknowledged. “FEMA has awarded funds to solely about sixty eight,000 households affected by Hurricane Ian for rental assist or fundamental repairs of their storm-damaged dwelling. up to now greater than 4,500 households have participated in non everlasting resort stays paid for by FEMA, whereas FEMA’s Direct Lease program has secured 333 objects. FEMA is inside the tactic of figuring out candidates based mostly on location from their damaged dwelling and household composition for potential objects inside an low price commuting distance.”


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