NewsPasco CountyNew Port Richey


Family still waiting on help from FEMA following Hurricane Irma

Posted at 10:57 PM, Nov 16, 2017

More than two months since Hurricane Irma swept through Tampa Bay, many families are still waiting on answers from FEMA. 

Irma's winds were strong enough to peel back a portion of Luigi Triggiano's roof. 

"It just flipped over and went into my next door neighbor's yard," said Triggiano. 

His home in New Port Richey has been exposed to the elements ever since. Flooding occurs in the bedroom every time it storms. 

"There's water everywhere. We got our clothes in there, our shoes in there, we have personal belongings that we have under our beds for storage places," said Frankie Triggiano. 

A blue tarp still covers the roof damage, fastened down by a car battery and brick. 

"Now I got to go get another tarp because it's starting to rip because the rain and stuff," said Triggiano. "FEMA isn't here yet, still waiting."

The family says they filed a claim immediately after the hurricane. FEMA completed its inspection of the property three weeks ago, according to Triggiano. 

But they say their status still reads "unavailable" when checking their claim online. 

"Hours and hours and hours on the phone and calling back and forth and I never get an answer," he said.

ABC Action News reached out to FEMA's Florida office for answers. 

Due to federal privacy concerns, a FEMA spokesperson said they can't comment on a specific claim. Claim details can only be shared with the applicant that initiated the claim. 

"We will take the information provided by ABC Action News and forward that to our individual assistance team for review and those results can be communicated directly to the survivor," said FEMA spokesperson David Burns. 

"This is my life here, this is all I got and I need help," said Triggiano. 

Triggiano estimates fixing the roof will cost about $6,000. If Triggiano's claim is approved, FEMA would provide financial assistance for repairs. 

Three weeks since since FEMA completed an inspection of Triggiano's property, he's still waiting for answers. 

"As long as I know that there's help coming, but when you don't know what's coming at all, that's what hurts," he said.

As of this week, 2.6 million households had filed for FEMA assistance following Hurricane Irma. A FEMA spokesperson tells ABC Action News, they've completed about 95% of inspections needed for claims registered.