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Many ‘snowbirds’ not eligible for FEMA disaster relief

Thursday was supposed to be the day Sue Poulin started her annual drive from Naples to her winter home in Fort Myers, Florida. However, her home, like so many others, was badly damaged by Hurricane Ian. Photos sent to a 74-year-old woman show that the water line from the floods in her home has reached several feet high, leaving behind sludge, damage and mold. Millions of people are turning to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for financial help to rebuild in the wake of Ian. But that help isn’t an option for Poulin or any other snowbird who has a home in Florida that isn’t their primary residence. Poulin said it’s something she and several of her friends, who also spend their winters in Florida before returning to northern states for the summer, have had to learn the hard way since the storm hit the last week. “If it’s not your primary residence, if your car isn’t registered there, it’s not your primary residence and you get nothing,” she said. “We matter and we should be compensated and helped.” Poulin told WMTW that she lives in Florida about seven months a year, but keeps her residence and home in Maine to stay close to her family and keep the home in Naples she’s owned since the 1970s. says she tried to reach FEMA by phone and online, but did not file a request for assistance because she now knew she would not be eligible. FEMA lists a home that is not a primary residence as one of the top five reasons disaster relief applications are rejected. Poulin, who rents out her home in Maine during the winter months, said she doesn’t know where she will be living this winter with her now uninhabitable Florida mobile home.

Thursday was supposed to be the day Sue Poulin started her annual drive from Naples to her winter home in Fort Myers, Florida.

However, her home, like so many others, was badly damaged by Hurricane Ian. Photos sent to a 74-year-old woman show that the water line from the floods in her home has reached several feet high, leaving behind sludge, damage and mold.

Millions of people are turning to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for financial help to rebuild in the wake of Ian. But that help isn’t an option for Poulin or any other snowbird who has a home in Florida that isn’t his primary residence.

Poulin said it’s something she and several of her friends, who also spend their winters in Florida before returning to northern states for the summer, have had to learn the hard way since the storm hit. last week.

“If it’s not your primary residence, if your car isn’t registered there, it’s not your primary residence and you get nothing,” she said. “We matter and we should be compensated and helped.”

Poulin told WMTW that she lives in Florida about seven months a year, but keeps her residence and home in Maine to stay close to her family and keep the home in Naples she’s owned since the 1970s. .

She said she tried to reach FEMA by phone and online, but did not apply for assistance because she now knew she would not be eligible.

FEMA lists a home that is not a primary residence as one of the top five reasons disaster relief applications are rejected.

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Poulin, who rents out her home in Maine during the winter months, said she doesn’t know where she will be living this winter with her now uninhabitable Florida mobile home.

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