New Disaster Recovery Center opens in Seminole County after Hurricane Ian

Center sits on main campus of Seminole State College

FEMA opened its new Disaster Recovery Center in Seminole County Monday morning, which is set to provide assistance to nearby residents still suffering the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A new FEMA Disaster Recovery Center officially opened in Seminole County, aimed at helping people impacted by Hurricane Ian.

The Seminole County Office of Emergency Management announced the opening at a news conference at 11 a.m. on Monday.

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County leaders said the Disaster Recovery Center, which sits on the main campus of Seminole State College, will act as “a one-stop-shop for FEMA, community services, legal aid and more related to Hurricane Ian recovery.”

“It is not only county residents, it’s also for those folks that live near Seminole County,” Seminole County Emergency Manager Alan Harris said. “We know a lot of folks just on the north side of Lake Monroe have experienced loss, folks in Lake County — those individuals can come here as well.”

Andrew Friend, a spokesman for FEMA, said they have received more than 13,000 applications in Seminole County so far.

“You can tell your story, and they can kind of help navigate you if you are able to have that eligibility or not,” Friend said.

The center will be open to residents Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Starting Tuesday, it will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

Harris added that Lake Monroe crested earlier today.

“So now all waterways in Seminole County are slowly going down,” Harris said. “Now we know there’s going to be a lengthy process that will take weeks for the water to get down below the flood level.”

A new FEMA Disaster Recovery Center officially opened in Seminole County, aimed at helping people impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Harris said people living along the St. Johns River, people living in Geneva and parts of Sanford will all continue to experience flooding for a few more weeks, because the water is receding so slowly. He added that State Road 46 would also remain closed for at least a few more weeks.

“Water levels remain high in these flooded areas. It is important if you drive in these flooded areas to please take caution,” he said. “These waters are contaminated and if you have a cut or a bruise or anything it can cause all types of issues.”

Donald Fox lives near Lake Jesup, and he told News 6 that he has had water in his home for eight days.

“I called my insurance company, and they said, ‘Is there any damage from the storm to your house?’ I said, ‘No, it’s from rising water,’” Fox explained. “They said, ‘Well, you cannot file a claim. You’ve got to go through flood (insurance).’ So I called the flood people, and they said, ‘All we can do is structure and contents.’”

Fox’s family is desperate for somewhere to live long term. With no place to stay and no help thus far, he’s forced to wait.

“I’m not sure how many months it’s going to be before an adjuster can look at my house and say this is what I can get so that FEMA will say, ‘OK, here’s what we can give you.’ I’m stuck,” he said.

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About the Authors:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.