Survey involving 1,000 Floridians says nearly 75% won't support local hurricane recovery efforts

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Many locals and city officials say they're in shock because nearly a thousand Florida residents say they're unaware people in our area still need help recovering from Hurricane Michael.

The survey shows most Floridians won't support local hurricane relief efforts. (WJHG/WECP)

"My first thought when I hear that is 'What?!," Northstar Church Pastor Roy Mansfield said.

"It's so upsetting to hear that when you look around and you see the destruction that is still here," said Callaway Mayor Panama Henderson.

In a recent Rebuild 850 survey, around 75% of the 1,000 people surveyed said they would not donate money to help with relief efforts.

"Every week we go out, every week we go out and we run into people that are still overwhelmed with what it takes to try to rebuild their lives and rebuild their homes," said Mansfield.

Mansfield and his congregation at Northstar Church have helped storm victims recover since it hit more than eight months ago. He said several people are still struggling with insurance, mental health, housing, and more.

"It wears on you. A lady the other day, when the last really big storm came, it's raining in her house again. Eight months with your kids, single mom... it's just burdensome," said Mansfield.

"So many areas of Florida have gone through hurricanes, you would think the majority of people in Florida would understand how devastating a hurricane is," said Mayor Henderson.

Henderson said people are still living in tents and trailers or are displaced by the storm. She also said local businesses are suffering because they can't hire enough people.

Mayor Henderson believes Floridians are paying more attention to the recovery of Panama City Beach.

"They know the beach is okay, that just plays into thinking this area has recovered from the hurricane. I don't think people really realize about the inland areas and the other areas that were impacted," said Henderson.

Many locals and city officials say it will take years before the area truly recovers and we need all the help we can get.

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