People may wait weeks for FEMA inspections after applying

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla. - FEMA still has thousands of homes left to inspect from Palm Beach County through the Treasure Coast and into Okeechobee County, causing some people to wait weeks for their inspections.

By October 25, in Palm Beach County, 21,000 homes had been inspected, but 16,000 still need inspections. In Martin County, 1,600 inspections have been done and FEMA still has 700 to do.

In St. Lucie County, FEMA completed 6,000 inspections and 4,000 are still waiting. In Indian River County, 2,400 homes have had inspections and 1,000 still need them. In Okeechobee County, 1,700 inspections have been completed and 700 are left to do.

Due to the size of Hurricane Irma and the large number of people affected, FEMA said some people are waiting 30 days or longer after applying with FEMA to get their homes inspected. FEMA typically tries to do an inspection within two weeks of an application.

Manuel Hernandez said he waited more than five weeks for an inspector to come by his hurricane-damaged house in Loxahatchee.

Just for Hernandez to get to his door right now, he has to traverse a path cut through fallen trees.

The inside of his house has mold and water damage from leaks in the ceiling.

"The mold’s growing up the walls so bad, it’s unreal," he said. “The hurricane had sucked the top ridge off the house, the vent ridge, and it filled the house up with water.”

He hasn’t been able to live at home since the storm.

"It was emotional at first," he said. "I was depressed.”

Hernandez said he applied for FEMA assistance only a couple of days after Irma, but then waited weeks for his inspection.

“I learned that patience is a virtue," he said.

When the inspector did come by last week, he didn't deliver great news.

“He said there was no hope really,” Hernandez said.

However, Hernandez now expects a check from FEMA and he hopes to use it to do the repairs himself.

In individual assistance for damage and losses not covered by insurance, FEMA has provided $50 million in Palm Beach County, $2 million in Martin County, $9 million in St. Lucie County, $3 million in Indian River County and $1.5 million in Okeechobee County.

The current deadline to apply for FEMA disaster assistance is November 9.

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