Hurricane Irma is long gone, but hundreds of South Florida families are still in hotels

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The mess Hurricane Irma left behind in South Florida is mostly cleaned up, but hundreds of displaced families are still living out of hotel rooms four months after the storm hit.

Hundreds more who have not yet found new housing — or been able to return to their former homes — became ineligible this month for the federal government’s temporary hotel program, sending some social service agencies scrambling to make sure families did not wind up on the streets.

There were 4,359 Florida families in hotels on Jan. 3 with the feds picking up the tab. That number dropped by more than 50 percent a week later, down to 2,011 families. The previous week, the number of families in hotels dropped by only 46.

In Broward County, officials say hundreds of families were told they were no longer eligible after the Federal Emergency Management Agency extended the program from Jan. 6 to Feb. 6. In a week’s time, the number of families in FEMA’s hotel program dropped from 318 families to 109 in Broward, from 561 to 280 in Miami-Dade County and from 146 to 52 in Palm Beach County.


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