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80 year old patiently waiting after approval of new FEMA trailer sites

80 year old patiently waiting after approval of new FEMA trailer sites
Posted at 5:37 PM, Feb 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 06:41:27-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Three new FEMA group trailer sites are coming to Lee county after the Lee County Board of Commissioners (LCBOC) unanimously voted to approve the sites. And two will be in the heart of Harlem Heights — an area hard hit during the hurricane.

Two will be located in Harlem Heights, one is located on Golden Journey Road and the other is located near Pine Ridge Road and Gladiolus Drive.

When walking around a neighborhood that's about a 5-minute walk from the Golden Journey location, you can still see the devastation from the debris, low-hanging power lines, and damage to homes. Those in the area said that many residents lefts because of the destruction to their homes; however, those who stayed said they feel like an afterthought and wished Harlem Heights received the same attention as places like Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach.

A group FEMA site is set up like a neighborhood for Hurricane Ian survivors to live in temporary trailers for around 18 months, keeping them close to their property.

“I've been waiting on it, but I'm not the only one who's been waiting on it," said Mary, a Harlem Heights resident. "I just have to wait for my turn.”

80-year-old Mary hopes her turn may be coming soon to get a FEMA trailer, nearly 5 months after her home was destroyed in Hurricane Ian.

“I couldn't save anything in my house, nothing, not the commode, everything destroyed," Mary said. "Just left me with a hole.”

Her home of 61 years still stands but is deemed unlivable. She's now staying with a close friend, patiently waiting for an answer.

“I'm happy here, but then I'm not, I want to go home," Mary said.

The LCBOCC unanimous approval means multiple FEMA temporary housing sites, which will give survivors temporary housing for at least 18 months close to their properties--and is set up like a community.

"That would be great, but when," Mary asked.

FEMA said the average construction time takes anywhere from 60 to 75 days after the contract is awarded. Mary told fox 4's Briana Brownlee it's been so long and she has cried many tears but she's hopeful.
"When my time comes it's mine. What God got for me it's for me," Mary said.

The third location for the site is Pine Island Road in Bokeelia.