Communities still recovering from Hurricane Michael as new storm season begins

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - As hurricane season begins, many in our area reflect on Hurricane Michael, a storm that has left people still in need of assistance almost three years later.

Some non-profits, like Mission 850, have been working to fill that gap and help people on their feet, but many near the Forgotten Coast still feel forgotten.

Chattahoochee resident Mary Cotton, said the storm destroyed her home.

“It tore a hole in the roof, from the rain and the moistness, the walls are messed up with mildew and fungus,” Cotton recalled.

The Gadsden County resident said she tried to apply for help through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, but has been denied benefits. Cotton moved into her mother’s house, where she has been since the storm.

“A nightmare,” Cotton described. “And know that you have worked hard and paid $72,000 for a home that you can’t live in.”

Dot Wagner with Mission 850, said there are hundreds needing help with insurance, contractors or rebuilding.

“There’s still business closed, there are still people living in RV’s in their front yards because there house was gutted. And they are waiting for the process, and they are waiting for folks to come and serve,” Wagner said.

The main concern in Calhoun County is the potential for forest fires and the timber industry potentially taking decades to return, but homes are a different story.

Calhoun County Emergency Management Director, Corey Silcox, added, “Roofs are being replaced, you are seeing less and less blue tarps on top of everyone’s houses. We were hit so hard in this area, insurance companies were dropping a lot of people. It was a headache to get payments,.”

As steps are being made to turn a new leaf, some remain weary of the impact a new hurricane season could bring.

“Everybody is nervous now. We were touched, we were not invincible. And there are a lot of unknowns right now,” said Silcox.

Silcox said some ways to stay vigilant ahead of storm season is to check your insurance and generators and get supplies.

If you happen to still be in need of any assistance regarding Hurricane Michael or want to help, you can visit by clicking here.

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