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The original item was published from 12/18/2018 3:28:12 PM to 2/6/2020 3:50:46 PM.

News Flash

Recover Bay County

Posted on: November 14, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Hurricane Michael Nov. 14 update


  • The Bay County Medical Examiner is reporting 21 casualties in Bay County.
  • The 211 Citizen Hotline continues to receive non-emergency calls. Out-of-state callers, call 850-248-6099.
  • Visit for recovery information.
  • On Thursday, Nov. 15, the National Weather Service calls for partly sunny and gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 54. Northwest wind around 10 mph. Thursday evening calls for clear skies with a low around 38. North northwest wind around 10 mph.

Recover Bay County – by the numbers

Feeding Assistance:

Salvation Army: 463,009 total meals to date

Red Cross Meals:  371,846 total meals to date

Total sheltered: 264

Debris Management: An estimated 1.51 million cubic yards of debris have been removed in the unincorporated areas of Bay County.  

Bay Town Trolley

The Bay Town Trolley has eight routes in Bay County that are operating daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Bay Town Trolley is taking flag stops. Riders should be patient due to traffic. Plan your route ahead with the online trip planner at For additional fixed route information, call 850-960-1084. 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has extended the application deadline for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. DUA is available to Florida residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a direct result of Hurricane Michael.

DEO is currently accepting applications for DUA from residents and businesses in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Liberty, Taylor, Wakulla and Washington counties. Individuals affected in these designated-disaster areas must file DUA applications by Dec 7, 2018. Applications filed after the deadline will be considered untimely and DUA benefits may be denied unless the individual provides good cause.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to those who:

  • Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment;
  • Are not able to work or perform services because of physical damage of destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster;
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principal source of income;
  • Do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits from any state;
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of the disaster; or
  • Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household because the former breadwinner’s death occurred as a result of the major disaster.

Applicants must submit their Social Security number, check stubs and documentation to support the claim that they were working or self-employed when the disaster occurred. In some cases, additional documentation may be required. To receive DUA benefits, all required documentation must be submitted within 21 days from the date the DUA application is filed.

DUA is available for weeks of unemployment beginning October 14, 2018, until April 13, 2019, as long as the individual’s unemployment continues to be a result of the disaster. To file a DUA claim, go to or call 1-800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants. For DUA claims information, call 1-800-204-2418 and choose the speak to an agent option to speak to a customer service representative.

Operation Blue Roof

At the request of the State of Florida and FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will continue to collect Right of Entry (ROE) forms for Operation Blue Roof through Fri., Nov. 16. ROEs submitted Nov. 16 or prior will be evaluated and Blue Roof installations will continue until complete.

USACE warns homeowners of fraudulent programs representing themselves as Operation Blue Roof.  “If anyone approaches you asking for money for a blue roof, that is not our program. Operation Blue Roof is free at no cost to homeowners,” said Lt. Col. Richard Gussenhoven, USACE Task Force Michael Commander.

Homeowners who may suspect they are being scammed should contact FEMA (866-720-5721, TTY 844-889-4357), the Corps (888-766-3258) or local law enforcement. Homeowners may also report fraud in person at any ROE collection center. Signs of fraud may include:

  • No USACE quality assurance assessment
  • No USACE contractor with valid work order
  • Asking for payment
  • Soliciting by paper applications

Eligibility requirements:

  • Only primary residences with standard shingled roofs. 
  • Metal roofs and mobile homes may be repaired as practical on a case-by-case basis.
  • Roofs with greater than 50 percent structural damage are not eligible for this program.
  • Every owner or landlord that has a signed ROE form will be visited 
  • If a home is rented, the tenant must provide written permission from the owner prior to signing ROE.

ROE collections centers are open through Nov. 16:

  • Disaster Recovery Center, Bay County Public Library, 898 W. 11th St., Panama City
  • Walmart, 2101 S. Hwy. 77, Lynn Haven

Centers are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information or to apply, visit or call 1-888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258).

FEMA Home Repair Assistance

Q: I’d like to return home to start my family’s recovery, but the inspector said my home is uninhabitable. Is there assistance available so we can fix things?

A: FEMA’s Home Repair Assistance is a grant to make basic repairs to an owner-occupied primary home so it’s safe, sanitary and functional. Safe, sanitary and functional homes meet the following conditions:

  • The exterior is structurally sound (including the doors, roof and windows).
  • The electricity, gas, heat, plumbing, and sewer and septic systems function properly.
  • The interior’s habitable areas are structurally sound (including ceiling and floors).
  • The home is capable of operating for its intended purpose.  
  • There is safe access to and from the home.

Q: Who is eligible for Home Repair Assistance?

A: Homeowners who have damage from a presidentially declared disaster that made their home uninhabitable may be eligible for a grant to make it habitable again.

Note: The repairs must not be covered by another funding source such as insurance.

Q: What kind of repairs are covered?

A: Possible repairs include:

  • Structural parts of a home (foundation, outside walls, roof).
  • Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinetry. 
  • Cleaning septic tanks and repairing or replacing the entire system. 
  • Well or other sole source of water for the home. 
  • Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems. 
  • Utilities (electrical, plumbing, and gas systems).  
  • Entrance and exit ways from the home, including privately owned access roads.  
  • Blocking, leveling and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical and fuel lines and tanks.

Q: The Home Repair Assistance isn’t enough to repair my home to its original condition. What else can I do?

A: FEMA assistance may not make you whole, it is only to make basic home repairs. After you apply for Disaster Assistance, you may be referred to the SBA. You may be contacted by the SBA to offer you a low-interest disaster loan. If you are contacted, you can submit an application online, or in-person at a Disaster Recovery Center. You are not required to accept the loan from the SBA. SBA loan applications are due Dec. 10.

Visit for more information about other available assistance. Disaster Assistance applications are due Dec. 10.

FEMA Assistance/Disaster Recovery Centers

FEMA is committed to ensuring that services and assistance are available for people with access and functional needs. FEMA offers many ways to help register by Dec. 10. Equipped with accessible ramps, parking and restrooms, Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) provide one-on-one consultation and resources such as captioned phones and iPads linked to video-remote sign language interpreters. The DRCs are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. If a disaster survivor cannot travel to the DRC, FEMA will arrange a home visit.

  • Bay County Public Library DRC, 898 W 11th Street, Panama City
  • John B. Gore Park DRC, 599 Beulah Ave., Callaway
  • Youngstown Fountain Recreation Park, 12421 E. Hwy. 20, Fountain

A DRC provides survivors information about FEMA programs and can help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance. Representatives from FEMA, U.S. Small Business Administration, volunteer groups and other agencies will be at the center to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses. When registering, survivors should let FEMA staff know if they have an accommodation request.

Additional assistance is available below:

If you were affected by Hurricane Michael in Florida and need a sign language interpreter, foreign language translator, a Braille document or large-print or electronic file and it is not available on the FEMA website (Resources-people-disabilities-access-functional-needs), call 470-364-7252.

To register for assistance, go to, the FEMA app on phones/tablets, or call 800-621-3362, 800-462-7585 (TTY). Multilingual operators are available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Mobile Registration Intake Centers

FEMA has deployed Mobile Communications Office Vehicles in the Individual Assistance designated counties to serve as Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRICs). Individual Assistance specialists, Small Business Administration, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance, and State Disaster Case Managers will be available at these centers. These centers will be temporarily at these locations and hours of operation will be 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., seven days a week until further notice. 

Bay County - Lynn Haven City Hall 826 Ohio Drive, Lynn Haven, FL 32444 
Bay County - Mexico Beach City Hall 201 Paradise Path, Mexico Beach, FL 32410 
Bay County - Parking Lot 225 S. Tyndall Parkway , Panama City, FL 32404 

SBA Mobile Business Recovery Centers

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the opening of a new Mobile Business Recovery Center (MBRC) in Lynn Haven to provide one–on-one assistance for businesses. The SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans for physical damage and working capital. SBA representatives at the centers will provide information about disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses with completing the SBA application. The Business Recovery Centers (located below) will operate until further notice.

Bay County City Job Center Parking Lot

625 Hwy 231, Panama City

Mon.- Sat., 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Lynn Haven City Hall Parking Lot

817 Ohio Ave, Lynn Haven

Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Closing: Sat., Nov. 17

Disaster survivors do not have to wait until their insurance claim is settled before applying for an SBA disaster loan because funds can be approved and disbursed while claims are pending. If survivors don’t know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA will consider making a loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay their SBA loan. 

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.  Applicants may be eligible for a loan increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. This assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed personal property.

Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for nonprofit organizations and two percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and based on each applicant’s financial condition.

SBA customer service representatives are also located at the Disaster Recovery Centers. If you cannot get to a center, disaster survivors may register for federal assistance online at and apply for SBA disaster loan assistance using the electronic loan application via the SBA’s website at If online or mobile access is unavailable, call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers, Business Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by e-mail to

The filing deadline to return SBA disaster loan applications for physical property damage is Dec. 10, 2018.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 11, 2019.

Mexico Beach Update

As of Nov. 12, the checkpoints at Mexico Beach have been lifted. Please limit travel to Mexico Beach as they continue the recovery process.

Mexico Beach has requested additional law enforcement support from Bay County Sheriff’s Department for at least the next several weeks to assist Mexico Beach Police Department. The Division of Business and Professional Regulation is monitoring the city for unlicensed contractors.

The Bay County Department of Health mobile medical unit in Mexico Beach is temporarily closed due to an issue with the unit. It may reopen on Friday, Nov. 16 after repairs have been made. 

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