Hundreds of FEMA TSA participants about to be left without housing again

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Time is up for participants of FEMA's Bay County Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, or TSA.

Bay County Commissioner, Philip Griffitts, said, "So out of 280 people in Bay County that are in the Transitional Sheltering Assistance, only about 17 qualified for that extension."

The extension was requested by Bay County in March. In April, FEMA agreed to an extension but with a stipulation. Eligible "households must have a realistic, feasible and practicable housing plan with a confirmed successful implementation date within the 60 day period beyond April 8."

The number of households that meet those criteria? Seventeen.

"Yeah, the folks that don't have a permanent housing solution are the ones that are being evicted, if you say, and as we all know in Bay County there is a shortage of permanent housing solutions," said Griffitts.

Now officials are appealing FEMA's limited extension of the TSA housing program to be more inclusive.

Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Jared Moskowitz, said, "And we are appealing that decision. We've sent in that appeal letter. We're asking FEMA to reconsider the decision of only 17 households. We're asking that more household be granted due to the circumstances on the ground."

Both Bay County and the Office of Emergency Management have requested an extension of the TSA program but for many, their future still hangs in the balance.

"We're hoping that some gaps will be filled through charitable organizations and non-governmental organizations. Our long term recovery task force on that side is working with them to try to help," said Griffitts.

Moskowitz says he anticipates a response from FEMA very soon. Until then, TSA participants must check-out of their lodging by Tuesday, April 9.