Floridians Continue To Struggle

JANUARY 2005
- Hurricane Damage Widespread - Large numbers of our members in Florida continue to struggle with the
ravages of four hurricanes - Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne - which
devastated widespread areas of that state this past August and
September.

Some members, whose homes
were completely destroyed, are now living elsewhere with friends,
relatives or rentals while they decide whether to rebuild or relocate
to another area, perhaps even move back to Massachusetts.

A
major complaint of those, who still reside in damaged, but livable,
homes, is the inability to find qualified workers to repair the damage.
Certified repair workers have a backlog of six months to a year in many
areas. Many insurance adjusters have also been very slow in resolving
claims.

Bob Hickey, a retired Lynn
firefighter, who lives in hard-hit Fort Pierce, estimates his damage at
$40,000. At last report, his adjuster has been to his home twice, but
there had been no settlement. His home is in Tropical Isles, a 345-unit
manufactured home park. The homes are sometimes called modular homes.

Gloria
Dias, a Department of Welfare retiree, who also lives in Tropical
Isles, says she has only received one-half of her insurance payment and
has been told that her insurance will probably be cancelled this
January.

Hickey says that 38 homes
in Tropical Isles were totally lost. "Almost every home suffered
damage. There are a sea of blue roofs everywhere," he said. "FEMA
supplied blue tarpaulins so that owners could cover their roofs, most
of which were lost or badly damaged."

"We've
maintained contact with most Florida members," said Association
President Ralph White. "However, there are a few that completely
disappeared. With their homes destroyed, especially in the Punta Gorda
area, we have yet to hear from them. I'm sure they're physically okay,
but like others, it's been a tough emotional struggle."

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