Tampa Bay Rebuild Florida applicants fear new homes put them at risk of eviction

8 On Your Side

Watch Mahsa Saeidi’s full report and find out how 8 On Your Side got results here.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The saga continues for Floridians waiting for the state to repair or replace homes damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Nearly four years after the storm, some homeowners are still living in horrific conditions, while others fear eviction.

“I’ve cried many a tear over this,” Deborah Shiver said.

Deborah and other storm victims are in a classic Catch-22. To live in a healthy, safe, secure environment, they need a replacement home. But once they get a replacement home, they’ll face eviction.

8 On Your Side first exposed Deborah’s predicament in December.

To live in her Lakeland Harbor community, like all the other neighbors, Deborah needs a carport and shed. It’s required.

According to community rules and regulations, if you violate these standards, “management…reserves the right to terminate the tenancy of any resident.”

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity oversees Rebuild Florida. It has received $346,186,147 from the federal government for its housing replacement program.

8 On Your Side asked a spokeswoman why Deborah’s new property appears to be violating the community’s rules. The explanation is that installing such structures “goes against regulations put forth by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development.”

Deborah’s neighbor, Gary McMaken, is facing the same dilemma. Gary tried to bargain with the state to keep his old carport and shed.

“I’ve asked if they would just leave that and I will attach it but they said they can’t do that,” said Gary. “I have no income…except for social security, no savings.”

Tonight, a months-long investigation by Mahsa Saeidi is getting storm victims the help they desperately need. Watch Mahsa’s full report at 6 on News Channel 8.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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