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State pushing to keep residents local as they rebuild

Fort Myers Beach home
Posted at 6:10 PM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 19:53:14-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — As so many are still without a home and dealing with debris, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) said FEMA will also help clear the way and provide housing — hopefully to keep residents as close to their homes as possible while they rebuild.

Wednesday, during his announcement on Fort Myers Beach, the Governor also said FEMA approved a temporary housing plan.

When walking through neighborhoods along Estero Boulevard, you will see piles of debris. But it's more than just piles of debris; it's what was once people's homes, memories and livelihoods. As they rebuild, the state is trying to keep them as close to home as possible.

“There’s no power, no water, the water was up to there,” said Jeff Morris, a resident of Fort Myers Beach.

Looking around at what remains of his home, he is still in shock. Like many, Morris is displaced and his home is unlivable right now.

“Oh, just what it used to be like, I just want to get back to what it used to be like,” Morris said. “I just have to clean it up and put it back together, that is what I think about every day.”

He's not alone in this. Right down the street is Janice Martin from New Jersey.

“We are staying with family in North Fort Myers," Martin said.

This isn't her first time being displaced. She went through this a decade ago when superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore in 2012.

“It’s the price you pay when you love the beach," Martin laughed.

Help seems to be on the way, at least a little quicker, with Governor DeSantis' announcement.

“Many of you want to be near your home and property as you rebuild. Today I am happy to announce FEMA’s Direct Temporary Housing has been approved," Governor DeSantis said.

This means under FEMA's direct temporary housing, the agency is offering:

  • A direct lease- meaning FEMA may lease out existing ready-to-occupy properties as temporary housing.
  • Multi-family lease and repair- Where FEMA pays for the repair for an existing multi-family rental.
  • and Transportable temporary housing units- which is when FMEA places a trailer in front of a home.

“Man, that would be a great thing actually," Morris said. "Because I won’t have to commute an hour to and from Naples every day.”

To see if you are eligible click here.