Hurricane Michael Federal Aid Still Not Reaching Florida Residents and Businesses
By Space Coast Daily // May 15, 2019
Florida residents and businesses are still recovering from Hurricane Michael, and they’re not getting any help from the government or President Donald Trump. Some businesses and residents in the Panama City and Mexico Beach communities have received around $1 billion in federal aid. But sadly, it is just not enough.
There are still a lot of communities in Florida that have not recovered from the wake of devastation Hurricane Michael left in its wake. What is needed? Government action and action by communities to keep fighting for Washington to deliver aid. Communities can even call upon policy research firms to step in and provide key insight on policy.
Hurricane Michael was also a lot stronger than many think. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last month that Michael made landfall as a category 5 hurricane, not category 4 as previously predicted. This supports the need for more federal aid, and faster action delivering that aid by the government due to the impact Michael had on the communities of Florida.
What’s The Hold-Up?
Most of the feet dragging is coming from the problems and disagreements politicians are having in Washington. This has caused a lot of communities to be left without infrastructure. In fact, many of the communities that need aid the most are still in the shape they were in days after Hurricane Michael passed. Instead of rebuilt communities, there are tent cities and mobile homes.
The lack of federal aid and quickness to disperse it has caused a land grab that is driving up property value and rent in the affected areas of the Florida panhandle. Vice News reported on the tent cities people are calling home due to all of this:
“The shortage of housing is being exacerbated by a concurrent housing boom, as opportunistic buyers race to scoop up a limited amount of salvageable land to rebuild, threatening to permanently displace the low-income residents of the county. Average rents have gone up nearly 14% since October to an average of $1,463 in Bay County, according to Zillow, compared to a nationwide increase of about 2.5% — if you can find a place to rent at all.”
Jessica Manson’s Story
Jessica Manson is one of the Hurricane Michael survivors affected by the lack of federal aid and help in general from the government. Manson’s home was destroyed by Michael, leaving her homeless and living in a tent city for over two months.
After that, Manson moved into a donated trailer camper on a plot of land with no running water and a bucket for a toilet for $160 per month. Manson once had a home and a job as a housekeeper for condos in Panama City Beach, ironically where President Trump had a rally. Now Manson works when possible and helps others when possible. There are a lot of people still without homes, steady work, help, and the stress is building.
Floridians Want Trump To See The Real Devastation
Like Manson, others still waiting for federal aid and other assistance from the government are not pleased with how things are unfolding. “This is not the America my family has fought for,” Manson told the Sun Sentinel.
“This is not the America I raised my children to be proud of.”
She and those in similar situations want the attention of President Trump in a unique way. They want the president and decision makers to back the aid to see the destroyed buildings, torn apart neighborhoods with trees, and empty homes that once made up a community first hand.
Interestingly, the worst area Michael devastated is in Bay County, where 70 percent voted for President Donald Trump. In that same county, 25 people lost their lives and over 65 percent of the homes were leveled by the category 5 hurricane.
President Trump doesn’t seem to be too enthusiastic about sending more aid, and this has catalyzed opposition from the Democrats. This has caused a stalemate of sorts, keeping aid from getting to Florida, as well as the island country of Puerto Rico. Fortunately, there are groups out there still fighting. One group wants a disaster relief package in place soon for those affected by Hurricane Michael.
But there is still a long way to go. Until the political parties get along and agree on a package for Michael survivors who are simply trying to survive and rebuild their lives, the near future looks grim. Floridians want attention, and they truly believe that if the true damage is seen, federal aid would be undeniable.
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