Why are Hurricane Irma victims in Tampa Bay waiting years for help?

8 On Your Side

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — As Hurricane Irma victims continue to wait nearly four years later for help, 8 On Your Side is looking into what’s going on with the state’s Rebuild Florida program.

People who were impacted by the storm want to repair or replace their damaged homes.

Robin and Melita Scee tell 8 On Your Side the state’s contractor told them to move all of their belongings into storage containers because they were about to get a replacement home. But according to the family, weeks have passed and, like so many other storm victims, they’re still waiting for the state to deliver on its promise.

A tarp has covered the roof of the Scee family home since Hurricane Irma hit in 2017.

Robin and Melita say they applied to Rebuild Florida in 2018. It’s a state program that repairs or replaces storm damaged homes.

Fast forward more than two years, Florida determined they qualify to get a new manufactured house.

Two months ago, the Scees say a contractor dropped off two storage containers. They had 30 days to get everything out.

Now, they told Investigator Mahsa Saeidi they have no idea when their new home is being delivered.

“All I want to know is the truth. I want to know what we can expect and when we can expect it,” Melita.

“We’re out of our home, we’re living somewhere else, you’re getting no answers from somebody,” said Robin Scee. “You’re just running in a big circle.”

Rebuild Florida received hundreds of millions to help storm victims recover. But families we have met are waiting years for help.

8 On Your Side called Rebuild Florida to get the Scees answers on Tuesday. We’ve asked lawmakers that represent Dade City, including U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis, Florida Rep. Randall Maggard and Florida Sen. Danny Burgess, to help.

Since Rebuild Florida launched, 4,101 Floridians have qualified to have their storm damaged homes rebuilt or replaced. The latest numbers show 727 projects have been completed. 

That’s less than one in five.

“I can’t even tell you what it’s been like, it’s just…it’s pure hell,” said Melita.

8 On Your Side will continue to push for accountability. 

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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