What to do when FEMA assistance stops but you
still can't go home because of damage
FEMA says don't count
yourself out if your assistance stops. You can apply for
continued assistance with a little paperwork
Article Courtesy of FOX 4 NEWS
By Amy Wegmann
August 3, 2023
FORT MYERS — There's not much to
see as Gail Gerberich walks us through her Fort Myers condo. It was
flooded during Hurricane Ian.
There's no furniture, the drywall
is missing on all of the walls, no electricity or AC and no way for her
to live in her home 10 months after the storm destroyed it.
What Gail does have are the haunting memories of riding Hurricane Ian
out in her bedroom. She sat at her desk in front of the window in
waist-deep floodwater just so her neighbors could see her.
"I sat right here for 20 hours," Gerberich says. " I felt like as long
as they can see me sitting there, you know, they'll feel okay."
All of her belongings ended up soaked on the curb after Ian and Gail,
who goes by GG, had to be physically removed from the flood waters
"They came the next day and
physically carried me out".
She survived the storm, and from there bounced around for a few months
until she settled in at the Pink Shell Resort on Fort Myers Beach in
February. FEMA temporary housing assistance was paying for her room
there, but, on June 1st GG says the temporary housing assistance
stopped. Meaning, she had to pay $200 a night to keep her room there and
a roof over her head. Fox 4's Amy Wegmann asked if she could afford to
"No. But I don't have a choice. You know, I've been looking for places.
There was a studio for rent $2,600 a month. I can't afford that," GG
explained. "and because I'm physically disabled. I can't do stairs, so I
have to be ground floor, which limits it even more."
GG feels like she fell through the cracks and she is not alone. So many
others still trying to recover after the powerful storm are in the same
boat, so, what can you do? and why did her FEMA payments stop? Amy
Wegmann started to search for answers.
Amy called and emailed FEMA representatives to see if she could get more
information about the reason FEMA decided to stop GG's temporary housing
Unfortunately, in their email response FEMA officials said they couldn't
get into specifics of Gail's case because of privacy rules.
They did point out that people in her situation can
apply for Continued Temporary Housing Assistance.
Don't presume that if your assistance stopped that you're out of luck.
There is a specific form you'll need to complete to apply for the
continued help.(Click here for form)Then, you'll be asked to submit
documents to support your request and, you wait.
It's not the answer most people want but it's a start if you feel like
you've been left behind and don't know where to turn next.
FEMA representatives also suggested that anyone that still needs help
reach out to Volunteer Florida. This is a FEMA funded program working to
help survivors find resources that can help them in their recovery.
Resources, that include temporary housing.
GG, for now, has several irons in the fire. She's called every local
agency she can find to try to get help with housing assistance and she's
found a room to rent. It's not ideal for a woman in her 70's, so, She's
hoping to find a more affordable place to herself where she can stay
until her condo, the place she's called home for 20 years, is fixed.
"I really do want to come home." she says bowing her head through tears.