BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Hurricane Michael hit one year ago, but for locals like Andrea Adams the pain lingers on.
Many who were struggling to make ends meet before the hurricane, find themselves in a dire situation one year later. (WJHG/WECP)
"I thought the storm was the worst part but it was the aftermath," she said.
Losing her home was devastating, but not knowing what to do next was even harder.
"We're still stuck. We're completely stuck," said Adams.
Feeling stuck is common for people in Bay County's low-income communities. Many who were struggling to make ends meet before the hurricane find themselves in a dire situation one year later. Now, time is running out to find somewhere else to live that they can afford.
"Everywhere we turn it's a dead end. They're not ready or they run out of funds," said Adams.
Adams is not alone.
"There's a lot of people that have left here and lot of people don't have no places to stay," said local resident Jerome Oliver.
Oliver lost his home to Hurricane Michael, and he's had to move multiple times over the past year.
"Probably stayed in three or four different places and I done stayed in hotels," said Oliver.
All this while he was working, paying high rent, and looking for an affordable new home.
"You're breaking yourself working and coming home and trying to pay this bill," said Oliver.
This new cycle of struggling to survive is impacting thousands of low-income families in Bay County they're told help is on the way.
"From Panama City Beach to Mexico Beach there are a number of developments in the works right now," said Panama City Community Development Director Michael Johnson.
Johnson said the city is working on hundreds of low-income housing options, including multi-family and single-family homes.
"I'd say they're 2-3,000 individual homes that are going to be built as well as probably 1,500 apartment complexes," said Johnson.
However, that takes time, and people need housing right now.
Adams, who is living in a FEMA trailer, is not sure what to do when the FEMA Housing Assistance Program ends in April.
"I have three kids and we do need as much help as possible," said Adams.
Johnson said Panama City is helping locals buy FEMA trailers after the program ends and is looking for other ways to help local storm victims like Adams who need more than housing right now. She needs help with food, clothing, and other resources.
Oliver said those needs are often not met when your whole paycheck goes to high rent.
"You can't survive like that you have to three or four jobs just to try to make it and do everything," said Oliver. "When you're paying $2,500 or $1,500 a month and you have other bills on side of that but that's even more hard on you."
For these storm victims, they're trying to stay strong while their lives are in limbo waiting for affordable options at a time when they need it most.
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