Florida Keys

Nearly 1,200 buildings in the Keys were destroyed by Hurricane Irma

Nearly 1,200 residential and commercial structures in Monroe County were destroyed by the Sept. 10 Category 4 hurricane, according to county government staff. These are damaged homes in Big Pine Key.
Nearly 1,200 residential and commercial structures in Monroe County were destroyed by the Sept. 10 Category 4 hurricane, according to county government staff. These are damaged homes in Big Pine Key. pportal@miamiherald.com

Nearly three months after Hurricane Irma pounded the Keys, new destruction numbers are in and they’re big.

Nearly 1,200 residential and commercial structures in Monroe County were destroyed by the Sept. 10 Category 4 hurricane, according to county government staff.

“Including the cities and their inspection results to date, we have about 1,179 total destroyed structures Keyswide,” Assistant County Administrator Christine Hurley told county commissioners, meeting last week in Marathon.

Included in the number are 727 structures in unincorporated Monroe County. Not included are mobile homes because is many instances, inspectors couldn’t match a structure with a lot because of the damage.

Just over 1,000 structures have damage beyond 50 percent of the building’s value, Hurley said. Almost 40,000 households have applied for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, she said.

“It’s important to keep in mind the county has about 55,000 housing units,” she said, adding there are still 543 households living in hotels. They’ll be able to stay in those hotels through January, according to Matt Massoud, with Monroe County Social Services.

More renters have received FEMA rental assistance than homeowners, and in November, there were 3,537 households on continued rental assistance.

“Likely, those are folks that are going to be in this long-term FEMA assistance mode until we build back up or they can find a permanent rental,” Hurley said.

Ninety-nine households are living in trailers provided by FEMA and that number could climb, but Hurley said the focus is helping people find places to rent with help from the agency.

If your home has an orange placard, you need to retain a licensed contractor to make improvements to help remedy unsafe conditions or you must be qualified as an owner builder and bring your home back to a habitable state.

If your home has a red placard, building inspectors that inspected the home have indicated the structure is beyond repair and demolition is necessary.

The deadline to register for FEMA help has passed, but help is still available by calling 855-228-3862. You can also call the Monroe County help line at 2-1-1.

Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219

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