Pasco County: Flood victims shouldn't expect big FEMA payout

County: Avg. Florida FEMA payout is $6,000
Posted at 4:37 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 17:30:29-04

FEMA will be touring areas hardest hit by flooding from Tropical Storm Hermine starting Sunday, but Pasco County leaders say homeowners should not count on a big payout.

Homeowners like Carol Rehber, who live in Bass Lake, say their homes are still under more than a foot water in some places.

I would say by my barn it's up to my knees," Rehber told ABC Action News.

She said her home has at least an inch of standing water inside.

"Oh it smells awful," Rehber said. "My house smells awful."

She and many homeowners like her feel they have nowhere left to turn for help.

People are just to the point where we don't know what to do anymore," she said.

Some people are hoping the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, will help those without insurance rebuild. FEMA will tour Pasco County starting Sunday.

However, county emergency management leaders said homeowners should not count on this to be a one-stop solution.

I want to set the expectation for everyone in this community that FEMA is not going to be coming out handing out Red Cross debit cards and things like that," said Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County's Emergency Management director. "Those days are over."

Pasco County said the average FEMA homeowner payout for damage like this to a Florida homeowner is about $6,000. The most often paid out is between $33,000 and $36.000.

But Guthrie is anxious for FEMA to give Pasco's hardest-hit areas an official federal disaster declaration, which could lead to more money for permanent fixes.

"Work on infrastructure, be able to work on acquisition of homes that continually flood and to be able to elevate homes that continually flood," he said.

But homeowners like Rehber are already looking for a new place to live.

"I have no money to get back in there," Rehber said. "So I have to move on."

She said she isn't county on FEMA to get her back into her home.