Gulf County officials and locals working to fix housing shortage

PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "The housing situation in Gulf County right now is on the mend but it is an awful long way from being completed," said Director of the State Housing Initiative Partnership Program for Gulf County, Joe Paul.

Gulf County officials and locals are working to fix its housing shortage. (WJHG/WECP)

Like many counties across the panhandle, Gulf County is seeing a housing shortage after Hurricane Michael.

But help is on the way from the State Initiative Housing Partnership (SHIP) program to the tune of more than $5 million to be dispersed in the next few months.

Paul said, "It will start in October and we'll start spending it in October. We have two years to spend the money and we're probably the only organization you'll ever talk to that wants to be broke before two years is up."

Officials say the program is geared toward very low to moderate-income housing and they believe any and all funds will help put people back in homes.

Paul added, "There's an awful lot of people who do not yet have a place to live. There's a lot of people still living in travel trailers, people living with families that their homes were completely destroyed but because of funding that's coming we have a chance to make a difference in helping a lot of those families."

It's not just officials helping families, it's locals too. Locals like Cheryl Steindorf who went before the Gulf County Board of Commissioners Wednesday to lay out plans for a housing fair to help locals with any housing need.

Steindorf said, "Whether it's repair, or whether they're looking to purchase a first home, or whether they have a piece of land and they don't know what to do with it. We want those resources available to them."

They plan to hold the housing fair on September 14 at Centennial Hall in Port St. Joe from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

SHIP is also planning on holding workshops to help homeowners go through the repair process or help them buy homes.

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