NewsLocal NewsLee County


US Army Corps of Engineers installs 11,000 blue roofs for homeowners affected by Hurricane Ian

Contractors need to install at least 6,000 more blue roofs
Operation Blue Roof
Posted at 4:19 PM, Oct 24, 2022

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The US Army Corps of Engineers says it has installed 11,000 blue roofs for homeowners in southwest Florida. As of Monday, around 21,000 people across the five eligible counties applied for the free program, Operation Blue Roof.

Out of the 11,000 completed roofs, 6,500 are in Lee County alone. To get more temporary roofs installed, the Corps is using geospatial imagery. It allows them to inspect houses quicker than the traditional door-to-door method.

"We can do it remotely. We don’t have to have a quality assurance officer in the field going house to house," said Col. Brian Hallberg. "They can do one house at a time in 10 minutes or less."

The images are taken from an airplane, or a drone at times. They have 20 people working remotely while close to 100 are on the ground doing the inspections.

"They're outpacing those in the field," Hallberg said.

Bill Crane, a Cape Coral homeowner, got his blue roof about a week ago, waiting about three weeks for it after applying.

"It was a little stressful," Crane said before getting the temporary roof.

He and thousands of homeowners waited for a few weeks before getting one.

"It’s a process. It took a lot for the contractor to get up to full capacity and they’re at full capacity right now," Hallberg said. "So we’re supposed to do 400 roofs a day. We’re doing over 900 roofs a day, so it’s almost double the capacity."

According to Hallberg, 3,000 applications still need to be processed while 6,000 approved homeowners are waiting for a blue roof. After an application is processed and the house is inspected, Hallberg says it goes to the contractor in a work order.

It gets sent to one of two subcontractors where they install the roof.

Throughout this process, Hallberg says you need to watch out for scammers. If someone wants money, a signature or to come inside your home — and they claim to work for the Corps or a contractor for the Corps — steer clear.

If you're applying, Hallberg says the biggest mistake they're seeing comes back to your address. Make sure you fill it correctly and put the address where you need a roof, not where you're temporarily staying as the roof gets fixed.

Crane is happy with the new roof and is now waiting for a permanent one.

"Slowly can get back to the process of getting the roof done and you know, getting back with life," he said.

The last day to apply for Operation Blue Roof is November 1.