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

Published 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 inside.

"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 pay that.

"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 assistance.

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.