Planning and Capacity Branch discusses temporary housing

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Planning and Capacity Branch of the Bay County Long Term Recovery Task Force met for the first time Monday afternoon at the Bay County Government Center.

The group is made up of officials from around the county and they wanted to nail down their goals moving forward, one of which is putting a temporary housing plan in place before the next storm hits.

Eric Swider from the Integrity Group said, "Maybe we could have 1,000 temporary housing units ready to go that can be prepped 72 hours before the storm with sites identified throughout the county that already have temporary utilities available that can be activated within 72 hours and then we can deploy the homes post-event."

While the task force has a dedicated housing branch as well the planning and capacity branch will work closely with them as time goes on.

Swider added, "A lot of the ideas for housing come from the housing branch so what we do is make sure that we're prepared so we can start doing the planning and capacity building for their concepts."

The group didn't discuss immediate housing needs Monday but put a bigger emphasis on being well prepared before a disaster.

Ian Crelling the Director of Community Development for Bay County said, "Communities that you live in, parts of the unincorporated counties or other cities come up with rules and regulations to address temporary housing before the storm so everyone knows going in these are the issues, this is how the cities, or in my case the county, can address that."

The branch meetings are open to the public and the next planning and capacity meeting will be February 26th at 2 p.m. in room 1030 of the Bay County Government Center.