Evacuation order lifted for Kissimmee’s Good Samaritan Village, but questions still unanswered, residents say

Meeting held Monday with frustrated residents

More than 100 frustrated residents showed up. Many of them were hoping to leave with their questions answered, but many people left the meeting early. Some of them grew angry and called the town hall pointless.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Osceola County on Monday lifted the evacuation order for a Kissimmee retirement community that has been flooded since Hurricane Ian.

The county says the floodwater has receded at Good Samaritan Village and power has been restored.

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County officials also say they’ve been in touch with Good Samaritan Society to make sure there’s a plan for removing sewage.

The notice came just hours before a meeting Monday where county leaders said they would be connecting residents with resources.

Donna Georgene Arthur is a resident of Good Samaritan Society in Kissimmee.

“I just wanna go home and get back to normal, with my friends, back to my life,” she said.

Evacuation orders were lifted for Good Samaritan Village residents, in limbo over flooding.

Arthur’s message is one we’ve heard from many residents of the senior living community. The community was evacuated on Sept. 30 as Hurricane Ian brought major flooding to the homes.

Residents stayed in a hotel as they waited for news, growing frustrated by the lack of answers.

Monday night’s meeting at the Osceola County Human Resources building had representatives from FEMA, insurance and legal services, the Osceola Council on Aging and Senior Resource Alliance.

District 1 Commissioner Peggy Choudry was also there trying to get residents in her district the information and help they need.

More than 100 frustrated residents showed up. Many of them were hoping to leave with their questions answered, but many people left the meeting early.

Some of them grew angry and called the town hall pointless.

Daniel Ferrer left early, saying everything Choudry said is what county officials continue to tell them. He said county officials are not helping and Good Samaritan Society must be held accountable.

“If you want your security deposit back you have to sign a waiver so that you don’t sue, it’s unacceptable,” Ferrer said.

Jeffrey Hussey, director of litigation at Community Legal Services Mid-Florida, confirmed this is happening.

“We’ve seen them and that is true that some residents have signed legally binding, at this point in time, agreements saying that if you want to get your security deposit back you have to sign this and by signing this, you’re waiving all rights to come after Good Samaritan for any other cause of action,” Hussey said.

When asked if the private company can do that, Hussey said, “We don’t think so.”

Hussey said he thinks residents signed the waivers because they didn’t fully understand the legal jargon or were afraid they would never get their security deposit back. He says his organization wants residents to know their rights.

Flooding has been a major problem at Good Samaritan Village in recent years.

Good Samaritan Society sent a notice to residents earlier this month that homes in six neighborhoods would not be restored following the storm.

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About the Authors:

Lauren Cervantes was born and raised in the Midwest but calls Florida her second home. She joined News 6 in August 2019 as a reporter.

Treasure joined News 6 at the start of 2021, coming to the Sunshine State from Michigan.