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Thousands of Floridians remain displaced or are living in damaged homes following the series of hurricanes that ripped through the state this summer, according to a report in the Associated Press.
And three months after the first of four storms hit the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is continuing to place people in temporary housing, including travel trailers provided by the RV industry.
According to AP, FEMA acquired about 5,000 small travel trailers — purchased for about $25,000 each — that have been set up for hurricane victims at commercial parks or on homeowners’ lots statewide.
Nearly 3,100 hurricane victims were on a FEMA waiting list for temporary housing assistance as of late last week. But officials said they’ve had to scramble to accommodate more people chased from their storm-damaged dwellings by mold and other previously undetected problems, said Brad Gair, FEMA deputy coordinating officer in Orlando.
“It is the largest operation of this type that we’ve done, so we are building a system on the go to handle it,” Gair said Thursday.
AP reported that FEMA and the state have given out $2.5 billion since August to help Florida residents and businesses recover from the hurricanes.
In devastated Punta Gorda, the relief agency spent $10 million to build a 66-acre development housing mobile homes. It opened two weeks ago but as of Thursday fewer than 100 of the 350 three-bedroom homes have been occupied.
FEMA said Palm Beach County households have received $105.7 million in hurricane disaster aid, more than any other county in the state. Polk County, southwest of Orlando in the path of three hurricanes, received the second highest amount, about $71 million.
The Red Cross says more than 25,000 homes in Florida were destroyed and more than 40,000 had major damage from the storms, which hit in August and September.