As Hurricane Idalia comes, thousands in Florida are still recovering from Hurricane Ian
While Central Florida didn't receive much of an impact from Hurricane Idalia, some people here are still working to recover from a different storm— Hurricane Ian.
Last September, the Category 4 storm devastated much of the southwest and center of the state. According to FEMA, in Central Florida alone, thousands were displaced due to flooding and severe damages.
Rebuilding Together is an organization that focuses on repairing and rehabilitating vulnerable communities — mainly those lived in by people on low or fixed incomes, such as seniors, veterans, and single moms, or people impacted by disaster.
Director of Operations Brandy Canada said the group is committed to getting people back in their homes, but it can be a long, hard road. The nonprofit works via volunteers and contributions. She said the process of fully rehabilitating a home can sometimes take anywhere from five to seven years.
“There’s tons to do — everything from roofs, to air conditioning. Some folks from even a year ago don’t have their houses mucked or gutted out. They’re living with mold, they’re living with no furniture, and they’re sleeping on the floor. They’re in tents in their yards because their house is just not habitable,” Canada said.
According to Canada, to date, the organization has completed 461 houses affected by Ian and currently have another 300 active projects in the works, spanning across 17 counties.
However, the work has been set to halt during storm season, when they have to assess the aftermath of new storms. In this case, Hurricane Idalia’s.
“This new storm is bringing a new layer of work for us to be able to assist people. We’re not quite sure what the damage is as of yet, so we’re waiting to see what happens,” Canada said. “But we will be here. We will be ready to assist wherever there is need.”
Anyone needing assistance is encouraged to reach out at https://www.rttb.org/ or over the phone at 813-878-9000.
Lillian Hernández Caraballo is a Report for America corps member.