Hurricane Irma victims in Orlando area still living in motels

Sheltering assistance still being provided to hundreds of households

By Adrianna Iwasinski - Investigative Reporter

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - While many people in Florida have cleaned up all the damage and debris left behind by Hurricane Irma, some are still living out of suitcases in a FEMA-participating hotel more than four months later.

News 6 discovered four families living at the Crosby Motor Inn on Orange Blossom Trail in Apopka.

One woman said that she lost her rental home to flooding along the St. Johns River, and that her landlord decided to sell the place as-is. She is now trying to find an affordable place to live, but hasn't had any luck. She says her family has been displaced as a result.

The Crosby Motor Inn provided a place to live for her, but it is 60 miles away from her new job.

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman David Burns, the agency is currently directly paying hotels for temporary lodging for members of 1,967 households in the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.

These are people whose homes were deemed uninhabitable and who can't find a temporary rental property.

FEMA officials said more than 27,000 households have participated in the temporary hotel program during the past four months. Households could encompass anything from a single person to an extended family of multiple adults and children staying in one room.

Continued eligibility for each household is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Below is the number of households in FEMA’s temporary hotel program in Central Florida:

Orange County: 90
Volusia County: 69
Brevard County : 121
Flagler County: 14
Seminole County: 21
Lake County: 16
Sumter County: 11
Marion County: 50
Polk County: 149

According to FEMA spokesman John Mills, the federal agency has provided $976 million in grants to homeowners and renters in Florida for Hurricane Irma damage and serious losses not covered by insurance.

The FEMA money given to survivors is for temporary rental assistance, basic home repairs and other needs such as replacing personal property.

Here is how the FEMA individual assistance funding breaks down by County in Central Florida:

Orange County: $46 million
Volusia County: $23 million
Brevard County: $24 million
Flagler County: $4 million
Seminole County: $19 million
Lake County: $11 million
Sumter County: $2 million
Marion County: $18 million
Polk County: $37 million

In addition, FEMA has paid $655 million in flood insurance claims for Florida policyholders in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The Small Business Administration has approved $959 million in disaster loans for Florida homeowners and renters, and $183 million in disaster loans for businesses.

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