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BONITA SPRINGS | Residents frustrated with Unite Florida temporary housing solutions

Posted at 11:04 PM, Sep 19, 2023

BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, residents displaced from Fort Myers Beach are facing housing challenges as they seek shelter through the Unite Florida program. Temporary trailers provided by the program have become home to these individuals for the last six months, but frustrations are mounting due to a lack of viable alternatives.

Peter Kvam, a recipient of the Unite Florida program, shared his ordeal.

"I talked to my landlord and my landlord told me that it's going to cost 1,500 a month, which I was paying 700 a month plus utilities."

Kvam's rent doubled post-storm, reflecting a common theme among the affected residents.

Irma Wilson, another hurricane survivor, expressed similar rent concerns.

"Consider, 600, 700, 800 more a month now, than it was."

The challenges extend beyond the renters. An anonymous resident, who previously owned a beachfront condo on Fort Myers Beach, revealed that her condo isn't habitable for another six months. She noted, that the condo association is still waiting on parts to get the water and septic systems in order.

A spokesperson for the Unite Florida program acknowledged the ongoing issues, saying "For qualified applicants, the month to month extensions were added to the NCS program as a continued need that was identified."

This temporary solution aims to buy more time for these residents to return to a sense of normalcy.

However, some recipients like Peter Kvam expressed their desire to regain self-sufficiency and move beyond government aid.

"I don't want to depend on the government. I'd rather be back where I used to live. That hurricane turned my life upside down, and it's never been the same since."

As residents grapple with uncertainties regarding their housing situations, some contemplate moving in with friends or potentially residing in their vehicles. The situation remains challenging for these individuals, underscoring the need for long-term solutions and continued support.