Frank Rincon, Pastor at Bethel Assembly of God in Immokalee, gives a tour of the distribution center being set up to help local churches in town. The distribution center is helping the Immokalee Unmet Needs Coalition with post-hurricane Irma recovery efforts. (Submitted photo/Travis Anderson)
Emergency Management officials briefed Collier County Commissioners on the status of the recovery effort underway due to Hurricane Irma. According to Dan Summers, Director of Emergency Management in Collier County, 69,319 individuals have registered for FEMA assistance thus far in the county. That assistance may be for anything from financial assistance to helping obtain temporary housing due to damage related to the storm. As of Monday, October 23, 77 families in Collier County have been approved for a temporary housing unit which may include a manufactured home or travel trailer depending on the length of time the unit is needed. Of those 77 approvals, only 10 are located in Immokalee. Director Summers said that four are located in Chokoloskee, 17 are in Everglades City, two in Goodland, four in Marco Island, one in Ochopee, one in Plantation Island, and 38 in Naples. The good news is that over the weekend, FEMA approved direct rental assistance up to 200 percent over the HUD Fair Market Rent for apartment units. Additionally, the County is still coordinating with debris removal companies to facilitate the expedited removal of debris along the roadway. Director Summers said that as of Sunday, October 22, over 1.2 million cubic yards of debris has been collected using 241 vehicles to move the debris from the roadside to approved debris management sites. In Immokalee, a temporary debris management site is set up at the corner of Main Street East and New Harvest Road. However, that site is only open for commercial debris removal operations. Residents can still take their own debris to the Immokalee Transfer Station which is located at 700 Stockade Road just past the county jail. Director Summers wants to remind residents that the last day to apply for FEMA assistance is November 9, 2017. For more information on registration, please visit www.disasterassistance.gov.