Fort Pierce city manager updates efforts to help Sabal Chase residents, still displaced from Irma

Posted at 11:56 PM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 06:21:19-04

More than 100 families displaced by flood waters from Hurricane Irma in Fort Pierce are still relying on a shelter for housing.

More than 140 Sabal Chase Apartments units were deemed unsafe for living last week.

Now, the families who lived in those units are going into their second week without a home. Some people lost most everything they own because they could not find storage they could afford.

At Monday night's city commission meeting, city manager Nick Mimms updated the commission on what the city has done so far to help the displaced individuals.

Mimms said more than 40 people are staying at the Percy Peak gymnasium. Dozens of others, staying with family and friends, have been stopping by the gym for meals.

Mimms said it could be 30 to 60 days until repairs are made at Sabal Chase. The city has expediting the permitting process for Sabal Chase contractors.

“They’re in. They’re already working," Mimms said.

He also said the city has helped find hotel rooms for some residents at a Fairfield Inn and Motel 6.

“The city of Fort Pierce is working to get hotels signed up and approved by FEMA. We made calls all weekend.”

The Red Cross, few local churches and the Treasure Coast Food Bank have helped either basic needs and food.

The city is helping those impacted with transportation and trips to the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office to help residents get needed background checks to apply for more federal aid.
“We’re going to be here as long as there is a need," Mimms said.

“The issues that they’re dealing with is limited resources, financial resources. Food, of course, stable housing," said Fort Pierce resident Mario Wilcox.

Wilcox, a veteran, does not live at Sabal Chase, but knows other veterans and friends who do.

“It’s like I felt the pain and the frustration of the people.”

Wilcox spoke up at Monday’s meeting and told commissioners he and others will make sure the city keeps it’s word.

“My goal is to raise awareness to these elected officials.”

Mimms also expects a local FEMA disaster relief center to open this week where people can apply for long term federal assistance.