MONROE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT WORKING ON SECURING TEMPORARY HOUSING FOR RESIDENTS WHOSE HOMES WERE DESTROYED OR SEVERELY DAMAGED BY HURRICANE IRMA
Monroe County Emergency Management has been working with federal, state and the Keys municipalities since Hurricane Irma struck to secure temporary housing for residents whose homes were either destroyed or damaged to the point they are uninhabitable and do not have insurance.
“This is a critical human issue and our top priority,” Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt said.
The County has worked with the Red Cross to provide temporary shelters for residents who have been left homeless from the storm. The County also has been working with state, federal and municipal officials to transition these people into hotels and ultimately into temporary shelter. The number of people currently in shelters is approximately 115 people.
The County estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 residential units (18 to 27 percent) of about 55,000 total residential units in the Keys were either destroyed or severely damaged. A majority of the damaged or destroyed homes are located in the hardest hit corridor from the Marathon area to Big Coppitt Key, where Irma struck with Hurricane 4 force winds and storm surge. Some are second homes.
This week, during Gov. Rick Scott and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke’s visit to the Monroe County Emergency Operations Center in Marathon, the County submitted a request for 1,700 travel trailers and 7,500 mobile home units.
These rough estimates were derived from a combination of County Preliminary Damage Assessment documentation of the Upper Keys and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) data done early on for Middle and Lower keys (including Marathon and Islamorada).
The 7,500 mobile home unit number came from the census of all mobile homes in 2010 Keys wide. The County estimates that few of these mobile homes survived the storm. At the meeting, the State and FEMA indicated they have requested mobile home production; however, inventory is low.
People whose homes were destroyed or damaged and have windstorm, flood and/or homeowners insurance should contact their insurance carriers for housing assistance.
People whose primary homes were destroyed or damaged, or rented homes that were destroyed and damaged, can register with FEMA for Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA). This federal program provides short-term lodging for eligible disaster survivors. This lodging could include hotels.
The first step: Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance.
This can be done online by:
- Going to www.disasterassistance.gov
- Calling the FEMA Helpline (800) 621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS-Video Relay Service) (TTY: (800) 462-7585)
- Registering in person in Key West at Fire House No. 2 mobile site at the corner of Angela and Simonton. FEMA is working on more in-person sites in the County.
To be eligible for TSA, individuals and households must:
- Pass identity and citizenship verification.
- Have a pre-disaster primary residence located in a geographic area that is designated for TSA.
- Be displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence, as a result of the disaster.
- Be unable to obtain lodging through another source.
For those people who are approved, FEMA will authorize and fund TSA through direct payments to participating hotels/motels or by issuing direct sheltering funds to an eligible recipient. The list of approved hotels is available at DisasterAssistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline (800) 621-3362.
Anyone who is in immediate need of shelter can also call the Monroe County Emergency Management Hotline during daytime hours at 1-800-955-5504 for assistance.