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The original item was published from 12/18/2018 10:58:00 AM to 12/18/2018 3:19:49 PM.

News Flash

Recover Bay County

Posted on: November 17, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Hurricane Michael Nov. 17 update

Bay County Emergency Operations

Hurricane Michael Nov. 17 Update

ESF 14 – Public Information


·        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 Sunday, Nov. 18, the National Weather Service calls for sunny, with a high near 70. North wind around 5 mph. Sunday evening calls for mostly clear skies with a low around 49. North northeast wind around 5 mph.

Recover Bay County – by the numbers

Feeding Assistance:

Salvation Army: 474,521 total meals to date

Red Cross Meals:  375,776 total meals to date

Total sheltered:  228

Debris Management: An estimated 1.79 million cubic yards of debris have been removed in the unincorporated areas of Bay County.  

Volunteer Reception Center

The Volunteer Reception Center (VRC) is relocating to the Bay County Public Library at 898 W. 11th St., Panama City. The VRC will re-open on Tuesday, Nov. 20. The new hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The VRC will be closed on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 for the Thanksgiving holidays. 

If visiting the VRC, go through the main library entrance and make a left at the lobby. The VRC is housed in Adult Services near the Large Print section. The VRC is still accepting new volunteers to help with the recovery efforts. The VRC receives and assigns volunteers to areas of the most critical need in Bay County. Volunteer organizations may also contact the VRC for assignment, or to request volunteers for specific projects. For more information, contact the VRC at (850) 960-4235. 

All volunteer groups should scan and send their volunteer hour logs to Maranda Griffin at for hours tracked to be reported to FEMA.

Emergency Prescription Assistance Program

The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) has been extended to Dec. 15. EPAP covers prescription drugs, vaccines and other medical supplies damaged in the hurricane. Individuals without health insurance qualify for EPAP. Prescriptions for medications and medical supplies may be renewed every 30 days for as long as the EPAP is activated. To register for EPAP, call 1-855-793-7470. The call line can also answer questions about the program and confirm whether a specific prescription is covered by EPAP. A list of participating pharmacies where claims can be filled is available at the Department of Health & Human Services website: For additional information about EPAP, visit


The shelter at Arnold High School, located at 550 N. Alf Coleman Rd., Panama City Beach is still accepting Bay County residents in need of assistance. It is currently managed by the American Red Cross and Bay County Emergency Management. Three meals are provided daily. The shelter has access to medical, social services, transportation, postal services, recreational facilities, and climate-controlled accommodations for pets. Representatives from FEMA and other agencies that can help with the disaster recovery process are also available.

Doorways of Northwest Florida

Doorways of Northwest Florida may be able to provide assistance to Bay County residents who were homeless before or are now homeless due to Hurricane Michael. Doorways of Northwest Florida strives to educate, advocate, and eliminate homelessness in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, and Washington counties.

First steps towards housing assistance:

1.     Contact your insurance company if you have home owners insurance or renters insurance to begin a claim. Many may even cover Temporary Housing.

2.     Contact FEMA to see if you are eligible for assistance. FEMA can be contacted directly at 1-800-621-3362 or visit to start a claim.

3.     Contact family and/or friends who may be able to assist you until you are able to get back on your feel.

For those in need of housing assistance, residents can visit the temporary office by appointment at the Florida Department of Health located at 597 W. 11th St., Panama City. The hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call (850) 819-1414 or stop by the clinic entrance check-in desk at the Florida Department of Health. For more information, email to

FEMA Direct Housing Assistance for Homeowners and Renters

Direct Temporary Housing Assistance is available to eligible applicants whose primary residence is uninhabitable if FEMA determines that eligible applicants cannot use financial Rental Assistance due to a lack of available housing resources in the area. Direct housing is just one form of temporary housing assistance being provided by the state and federal agencies. Many survivors have received grants for basic repairs and rental assistance, and temporary roofs provided by the Corps of Engineers. 

Obtaining a travel trailer or manufactured housing unit is not an automatic process. Eligibility must be determined after survivors apply for assistance and according to guidelines developed and approved by the state of Florida and FEMA. Register at, visit a Disaster Recovery Center, or call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585). 

Additional phone interviews are being conducted to determine applicants who are identified and qualified for direct housing assistance. An inspector will schedule a visit to assess the damaged home. 

As individual eligibility for direct temporary housing is determined, sites to place the units are inspected to assess feasibility for placement. For homeowners, a site inspection will determine if a unit can be placed on the private property. If the site is approved, FEMA will install a unit on the property. For renters, a unit may be placed in a commercial park. If the landlord agrees and the site is feasible, a unit may be placed on their property. 

Installation of a temporary housing unit includes:

·        Site preparation

·        Placement of the unit

·        Anchoring of the unit

·        Utilities hookup

·        Compliance with local permitting and completion of final inspection

When the unit passes final inspection, it is ready for occupancy. At that point, the applicant will sign a license-in-agreement to occupy the unit while they work on their permanent housing plan. 

Direct housing is temporary. These units are not permanent dwellings. FEMA staff will meet with survivors regularly to determine their continued eligibility and demonstrated needs and assist them in developing a permanent housing plan. To remain eligible, survivors must demonstrate continuing progress on a permanent housing plan. FEMA staff will keep survivors up to date on program details and deadlines through face-to-face meetings, phone calls and letters.

FEMA Seeking Applicants to Join Hurricane Michael Recovery Team

FEMA is hiring people who live in areas affected by Hurricane Michael to join their recovery team as temporary employees. Hiring temporary staff locally allows FEMA to diversify the workforce while affording opportunities for survivors to help other survivors.

Jobs are available in Tallahassee and other areas in Florida recovering from Hurricane Michael. If interested in joining FEMA as a Temporary Local Hire, applicants can view open positions on, and search keyword “FEMA” or “local hire” and “Florida” in the location field.

In particular, FEMA is looking for people with a general background in construction, project management, engineering, public works, or working with local governments to fill Public Assistance Site Inspector and Program Delivery Manager positions. These jobs entail validating disaster damage and collecting specific and detailed information on damaged public facilities.

In addition to Public Assistance Site Inspectors and Program Delivery Managers, other positions will be opening in the future.

FEMA hires local residents, who are often disaster survivors themselves, to help their fellow citizens in the recovery process. Local hiring allows disaster survivors to get back to work while augmenting local long-term recovery. Most temporary local hires are employed through a streamlined, rather than a competitive, process. A local hire’s term of employment is 120 days, though it may be extended in 120-day increments up to one year. Visit for additional information, including job responsibilities and compensation.

Panama City Comfort Stations

The Panama City Comfort Stations continue to see decreased use among residents and will be closed in stages. The comfort stations located at Boys and Girls Club (3404 W. 19th St) and Al Helms Dog Park (1022 Balboa Ave.) will close after today. The comfort stations at Northstar Church (2379 St. Andrews Blvd.), Cove Shopping Center (925 Cherry St.) and Panama City Mall (corner of 23rd St. and Hwy 77 by Dillard’s) will remain open through Nov. 21. The comfort stations at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center (705 E. 14th Ct.) and Daffin Park (320 Kraft Ave.) will remain open through Nov. 24.

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. 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. 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.

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 

(Open through Nov. 21 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.)

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.

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 Disaster Loans

When you register for disaster assistance, the U.S. Small Business Administration may contact you to offer the opportunity to apply for a low-interest disaster loan to repair or rebuild your damaged home. An SBA disaster loan may be your best recovery step, particularly when repairs are not covered by other sources such as insurance.

A submitted application may also make you eligible for other federal assistance. You are not obligated to accept an SBA loan, but here are some potential benefits in applying:

·        If you do not have enough insurance for required repairs, an SBA loan may cover the difference.

·        If eligible, a survivor may borrow up to $200,000 to repair or replace a primary dwelling to pre-disaster condition.

·        Some applicants may be eligible to include their pre-existing mortgage in an SBA loan to reduce payment hardship.

·        In addition to funds for a damaged or destroyed primary residence, a loan may help homeowners or renters repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars and appliances.

·        If the SBA does not approve a loan, you may be referred to FEMA for a grant to replace essential household items, replace or repair a damaged vehicle, pay for storage expenses or meet other serious needs.

If you wish to complete a paper loan application, request one from the SBA. Visit or call 800-659-2955, (800-877-8339 TTY). For other information, visit or call 800-621-3362, (800-462-7585 TTY). If you need a sign language interpreter, foreign language translator, a Braille document or large-print or electronic files, call 470-364-7252.

SBA Mobile Business Recovery Center

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has set up a Mobile Business Recover Center 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 Center 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.

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.

City of Parker

The City of Parker is continuing to make progress with debris pickup, reaching 175,000 cubic yards as of Dec. 15. 

Salvation Army feeding center at the Parker firehouse will shut down after this Sunday, Nov. 18.

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