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Lynn Haven commissioner talks blue tarps two and a half years after Hurricane Michael

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some might be wondering why we’re still seeing blue tarps on homes two and a half years after Hurricane Michael.

“I just feel like it’s taken too long to get the roofs fixed,” Lynn Haven resident Amber Baker said.

Baker said her neighbor’s home is one of the many still covered with a blue tarp. Just how many, according to Lynn Haven commissioner Brandon Aldridge, is not known. Still, he said the city has made great strides toward recovery.

“We’ve come a long way in two and a half years. I’m very proud of Lynn Haven and the recovery effort that we have going on right now,” said Aldridge.

Aldridge says he estimates about 99% of homes have new roofs, but that’s not good enough for Baker.

“We had plenty of people at first, but they fixed a few and I feel it was more for show,” said Baker.

Aldridge said the main reason we’re still seeing blue tarps is people are in litigation with their insurance companies.

“To me, it’s just an injustice when an insurance company just drags their feet nonstop, delays and diverts attention from the issues and that’s what’s been going on for a couple of years now,” said Aldridge.

Aldridge adds many times the insurance companies don’t want to pay out as much as it costs to repair damage when a big disaster like this happens.

“But that’s why they’re in the insurance business. They should be taking care of these people who are paying their premiums every year and they should do their part and help these people rebuild their homes and their lives,” said Aldridge.

All the houses with blue tarps we visited Tuesday, we tried to knock on the doors and reach out to the owners, but no one was home at these residences. Baker said she feels like the city is trying, but should consider other options.

“I just feel like maybe it’s time to bring in more outside help if they could,” said Baker.

Aldridge said they realize people may be in litigation with their insurance companies, so they agreed as a commission to start a system where people write or email into the City Manager. He said if you can prove what your situation is and what circumstance is not allowing you to clean your property or fix your house, it will keep you from getting a code enforcement violation.

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