Hurricane Irma made nearly 100 structures in rural Immokalee uninhabitable in a matter of hours — mobile homes lost walls and roofs, traditional homes suffered flood damage from rising storm water. Hardest hit streets were marked by piles of clothes, drywall, flooring and furniture.
Finding a new permanent residence takes longer than most imagine. Those made homeless found temporary lodging in makeshift shelters, local schools, motels and the homes of friends – sometimes for days, more often for weeks or months. Some still are searching for that permanent place to call home.
Rural Neighborhoods’ rental communities in Immokalee have become home to a handful of those who lost homes from Irma. Three of our newest residents lived pre-storm in rented mobile homes. These older, dilapidated trailers pre-dated windstorm standards, suffered landlord neglect and, not surprisingly, were lost to high winds. Damage did not limit itself to mobile homes, however. Our newest tenant lost their home when Irma’s winds lifted it off its foundation and severely damaged its roof making it uninhabitable. But there is good news – the elderly couple found a brand new home in our just- renovated apartments in Timber Ridge at Sanders Pines Reserve.
Resettling is more than a roof over one’s head. These household moving into our Main Street Village and Timber Ridge at Sanders Pines properties had broad needs. Local individuals, including families from Ave Maria, helped the transition through donations of furniture and household goods to replace items lost to high winds and rising water.
It’s a start. Rural Neighborhoods continues to work with other storm victims to begin the process of rebuilding.