On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Rick Scott announced that the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) will use its Socialserve service to help residents of the Sunshine State who lost their homes in Hurricane Michael find rental housing.
“Florida residents displaced by Hurricane Michael can visit the affordable rental housing locator service, www.FloridaHousingSearch.org, to find available units in Florida,” the governor’s office noted.
“We know many families who have experienced impacts from Hurricane Michael are looking for affordable housing while they rebuild their communities,” Scott said. “The service Florida Housing is providing will help many Floridians get back to a sense of normal life sooner.”
Florida Housing Executive Director Trey Price also weighed in on the matter.
“Florida Panhandle families have had their lives turned upside down by this monstrous storm. Florida Housing stands at the frontlines efficiently providing long-term housing assistance and resources to those in need,” Price said.
“Florida Housing and Socialserve will conduct extensive and frequent surveys with rental property owners in the impacted counties regarding available and suitable housing for households that cannot return to their homes. The survey also helps determine which landlords will provide short-term leases to displaced households and accept FEMA rental assistance vouchers, the governor’s office noted. “The property owners being surveyed include those in Florida Housing’s portfolio, as well as other landlords that currently have their properties and units registered with FloridaHousingSearch.org.”
Florida Housing announced that the State Housing Initiative Partnership Program (SHIP) funding will first focus on the following counties hurt by the storm: Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington.
“The SHIP Program provides funds to local governments for their homeownership and rental housing programs. Under Section 420.9073(5), Florida Statutes, Florida Housing is authorized to earmark up to $5 million each fiscal year from the SHIP appropriation for recovery efforts for declared disasters. In previous years, recovery efforts include response to hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and wildfires,” Scott’s office noted.
Floridians who evacuated the storm to Georgia and Alabama can check out GeorgiaHousingSearch.org and Alabama 2-1-1 for housing assistance information.
Kevin Derby can be reached at Kevin.Derby@floridadaily.com.