Flagler, Volusia residents: We need a FEMA center

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 26, 2017, 9:41 PM EDT

Flagler and Volusia residents say they're having a difficult time applying for assistance from FEMA.  

  • Closest FEMA disaster recovery center in St. Johns County
  • Volusia, Flagler counties say that is too far
  • There are only 8 centers in the state
  • RELATED: FEMA's Hurricane Irma Florida site

They say part of the reason is there are no disaster recover centers close enough to get help.

Flood water from Irma damaged Sheryl France's home. Now, she said it's been difficult getting through to FEMA.

"It's frustrating because you don't know which way to turn. We have no regular disaster relief here except for what the community's done," said France.

She said calling and trying to log in online didn't work.

"When I came home and tried to do so it wouldn't let me in, the numbers he gave me were useless," said France.

The closest FEMA disaster recovery center for Flagler and Volusia counties is in St Johns County.

France is thankful for volunteers like Tracy Callahan-Hennessey and her group. They've gone door to door to help some apply.

But she, like many elderly and others, are still lost about the FEMA process and want help in person.

"To help these people navigate through the application process and what to do from there. That's where our biggest need is right now," said Tracy Callahan-Hennessey, volunteer.

A FEMA spokesperson said they are currently working on the issue and inspecting buildings to set up a center. He said they've been looking the past couple days for a good location, but couldn't provide a timeline of when they'll open.

But living with mold in her home and in need of a voucher to stay somewhere else, France said it's not coming soon enough.

"if it's serious enough for the city to come tell you you need to leave your home because of the toxic mold, that they would have a huge center set up here somewhere," France said.

The hours to the location in St Johns County is 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., located the University of Florida Wind Mitigation Hurricane house. Right now FEMA said people can call early in the morning or late in the day to avoid wait times.

"Lets get FEMA in here, let's get people signed up before the window closes," said Hennessey.