FEMA housing deadline approaches, residents search for permanent living solutions
Local FEMA trailer parks are slowly but surely emptying out. The deadline for residents to move out approaching on April 11.
Those still living in temporary housing have mixed feelings. One resident said she was worried and anxious.
FEMA officials said, as of Thursday morning, 524 households are still living in FEMA-provided temporary housing.
FEMA trailer resident Patricia Thames fears the worst.
"There's going to be a lot of homeless people here. I know, like I said I lived in my car so there's going to be a lot of people probably living in their car," Thames said.
FEMA officials said their goal is to help survivors find a permanent housing solution by making regular visits to residents.
"Their goal is to meet with them to kind of track where they are in the process as far as making a plan to return to more permanent housing," FEMA Assistant External Affairs Officer Melanie Barker said.
Through the Disaster Case Management program, FEMA is working with local organizations.
"Disaster Case Management is one-on-one assistance to our residents to help assess what their long-term recovery plan will be and then to help them set goals," Rebuild Bay County Inc. Executive Director Donna Pilson said.
Case managers are assessing individual needs as the April deadline approaches.
"The goal is not to leave anyone homeless. We are here to help our residents fully recover from the impacts of Hurricane Michael," Pilson said.
Even the possibility of an extension is under review.
"Through the state of Florida, Bay county has made a request to extend the program for another six months," Barker said.
If the extension is approved, FEMA officials say residents will be responsible for paying rent.