IRMA: Polk residents displaced by Irma searching for places to stay

Polk County Emergency Administration estimates a number of thousand houses have been broken by Hurricane Irma in Polk County.

Lots of these displaced from their houses by storm injury are in search of short-term locations to remain. Sadly, relying on FEMA, they’re reporting they’re not having a lot luck.

  • Solely 7 Polk inns presently in transitional sheltering help program
  • FEMA program pays for evacuees to remain
  • Evacuees at one FEMA-listed lodge requested to go away Sept. 21

As of four:30 p.m. on Sept. 21, there have been solely seven motels in Polk County that have been accepting FEMA funds as a part of the transitional sheltering help program, which pays for evacuees to remain there.

“None of us have anyplace to go, I’ve no household right here,” stated displaced resident Lindsay Teal. “All the individuals listed here are refugees from the hurricane. They’re all full.”

That was the sense of desperation on the Westmont Inn in Lakeland. It’s one of many inns that was listed on the FEMA Evacuee Lodge Listing on-line, but on Thursday afternoon, evacuees discovered they needed to depart.

The lodge’s proprietor stated FEMA initially accredited him for this system, however then informed him Thursday morning he wasn’t accredited. Apprehensive he wouldn’t get reimbursed from FEMA, he stated he needed to inform sixty one rooms filled with evacuees they needed to depart until they might pay for his or her rooms.

Two of these individuals have been Melinda Dixon and her aged father, who’s on oxygen. After a tree fell on their house, FEMA accepted her for help and advised her to search for a room on the Westmont Inn.

She’s now hoping to seek out one thing extra everlasting, reminiscent of a trailer or an house to maneuver into, however she hasn’t had any luck.

“It’s very arduous, very exhausting. As a result of it’s simply me making an attempt to do it,” stated Melinda. “I can’t do it on my own. He might cross away as we speak, he might cross away tomorrow.”

Whereas we have been there, the lodge proprietor received in contact with FEMA, who informed him they have been wanting into his case. He then determined to permit individuals to remain another night time whereas FEMA resolved the state of affairs.

It was an identical state of affairs for Wanda Hicks, who’s disabled and was authorised for FEMA help, after the hurricane brought about her neighbor’s tree to fall on her house. After every week of calling resorts in Lakeland, she stated she discovered a room on the Days Inn and Suites.

“I stated, ‘Have you learnt how lengthy you’ll be able to have it for us?’ She stated, ‘You need to name again each morning to seek out out if it’s out there,'” stated Hicks. “It’s like we actually don’t know from someday to the opposite if we’ve got someplace to remain.”

FEMA spokesman Invoice Lehman stated it’s as much as the inns to use to develop into part of its transitional sheltering help program. Up to now, most of the huge lodge chains in Polk County haven’t signed up.  

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