Weeks After Hurricane Ian, Hundreds of Floridians Remain in Shelters
The death toll from Hurricane Irma began to fall in early September, but the number of homeless people in Florida remains the same today. We now have a new reason to celebrate… it’s official. Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for the state of Florida on Sept. 12, the same day the Federal Emergency Management Agency lifted its mandatory evacuation order for the entire state. The federal government said this was an unprecedented extension of their initial storm preparedness deadline (that’s 90 days from when they issue the warning), and, for days, the governor and mayors across the state were arguing over the state’s authority to keep its citizens safe.
Today, the Trump administration finally caved to pressure from the governor and stopped enforcing the mandatory evacuation order for the entire state, but hundreds of Floridians are not so lucky. The Trump administration has decided that some of the people who were forced out were living in homes that were not habitable, and they are not entitled to federal flood insurance or other benefits. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says that the residents of these homes may not have lost any of their belongings in the storm, but must look for suitable alternative housing for their possessions.
But FEMA has given these people no guidance on what else they can do to keep their homes habitable, and the HUD official said that it’s up to the people to figure that out for themselves. “If a family is not able to return to its home after a home inspection, HUD recommends that a family members and a HUD-approved community resource may be able to provide rental assistance or repair or repair rental property,” the HUD official told the Miami Herald, which reports that the majority of the residents who lost their homes, lived in apartments in a converted warehouse in Fort Lauderdale that was not eligible for affordable housing.
The report from HUD is based on interviews