LARGO, Fla. — A Pinellas County man whose mobile home was all but destroyed by Irma says the state abandoned him after offering to replace his trailer in 2019. He's been living without water except for an outside hose for three years.
Michael Rose barely scraped together enough money for food, lot rent and the upkeep on his single-wide mobile home, then Irma hit.
“It completely washed out my whole plumbing,” said Rose, who has been showering with a hose and doing dishes in his driveway since 2017.
Rose applied to Rebuild Florida a state-funded program that assists Florida residents impacted by hurricanes. On its website, Rebuild Florida states the program was "...created to help Florida’s long-term recovery efforts from recent hurricanes."
Rose was approved, showing us a letter dated January 2019 from the agency. “We have determined that your property is eligible for replacement…," it read.
And one year later, in March 2020, the program sent Rose another letter offering to replace his mobile home. When ABC Action News met Rose last month he was still waiting on help from the state.
“I can't live like this anymore,” he said.
ABC Action News asked the Department of Economic Opportunity, which runs Rebuild Florida, what was going on with Rose’s case. The next day Rose says the state contacted him, surveyed his lot and moved forward with his project.
Rebuild Florida has since delivered an on-site storage pod for Rose’s belongings and is paying for a two-week hotel stay while they demolish what is left of his old mobile home and replace it with a new one.
ABC Action News found Rebuild Florida has completed work on about 570 out of 3,700 planned projects for families impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Department of Economic Opportunity says it is committed to providing long-term disaster recovery help to Floridians.