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Homeowners still recovering after Hurricane Irma

Program helps those still struggling after Irma
Posted at 10:32 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 06:38:09-05

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. -- Lisa Marteeny remembers that September day clearly.

"Roofs were blowing, a refrigerator, a freezer went down the street, floating down the street."

Marteeny was among just a handful of people who rode out Hurricane Irma in her mobile home on Plantation Island, next to Everglades City.

"The water rushed so hard that it took less than a half an hour to come up the canal, our house was about 3 foot up and it was coming through the floor boards," said Marteeny, who fled to a neighbor's house as the storm engulfed her home.

As if the hurricane wasn't bad enough, the aftermath was worse.

Marteeny's home was gone, she had no home owners insurance, and her husband of 13 years, already suffering from heart disease passed away a week after the storm.

"It was the bacteria in the storm water, the medical examiner determined it was a storm related death," she said.

Lisa heard about a county sponsored program called SHIPS, the State Housing Initiative Program that helps with demolition and replacement of homes.

Two other families in her neighborhood are going through the program, 19 total in Collier County.

Without the $75,000 grant, Lisa would have had to leave town.

"I had family in Tennessee, and I thought, well I know that they would welcome me and I would and I would go up there and start over.

Lisa lived with another neighbor for months while her home was being rebuilt, she was estatic to move into her rebuilt home.

"It didn't dawn on me that I was going to be able to stay here, but the SHIP program allowed that to happen."

The program is also available to those who lost their homes in other natural disasters.