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No Place to Go: The end of a housing program for Hurricane Ian survivors in Iona

Posted at 8:01 AM, Jul 02, 2024

IONA, Fla. — For months, mobile home parks like Iona Ranch Mobile Home Park have been temporary homes to people who lost most everything to Hurricane Ian.

These trailers were provided by the Unite Florida program, but this month, that program is ending.

On Monday, most residents in the Iona Ranch Mobile Home Park received a notice informing them that they have until July 31st to pack up and leave.


When asked where they'll go, most didn't have an answer.

"I don't know, honestly, I have no idea," said Ashley Wehrlen, a recipient of the Unite Florida program.

"We have no plans, we have nowhere to go!" echoed Richard Toker, another resident.

"I have no plans at the moment; I risk being homeless right now," shared Michael Watkins.

"We have no plans because we have nowhere to go," added Michelle Kane.

The Unite Florida program was initiated less than a month after Hurricane Ian hit and has provided state-funded trailers to qualifying individuals as a temporary place to live. The residents expressed gratitude for the shelter provided during their time of need.


"I don't know where we would be, I know all these people here, I don't know where they would be," one recipient noted.

However, as the time comes to transition and find permanent housing, the cost remains the biggest hurdle for the residents.

"The problem in this area that everyone else has found, is the rents are absolutely beyond ridiculous here," Toker noted.

The property manager of Iona Ranch Mobile Home Park said the state will not be reimbursing them for August's rent. They plan to build new homes on the lots, which is why they are asking people to vacate.

A representative from Unite Florida confirmed that July 31st is the final day of the program.