Sept. 8, 2004 – Over 93,000 Floridians with nowhere to go in the aftermath of Hurricanes Charley and Frances are staying in state shelters and sleeping in crowded gymnasium floors. They are among the more than one million Florida residents who have evacuated their homes as a result of the hurricanes, with most leaving the state or staying in hotels.
The poorest in Florida, unable to pay for pricey hotels or transportation to leave the state, are relying on limited state assistance for shelter. Low-income Floridians living in mobile homes that have been wiped away by the weather are left homeless and in many cases unemployed.
President Bush asked Congress for $2 billion to help Florida, a political "battleground" state, recover from the Hurricanes. The money will be used to pay for debris removal, repairs to utilities and infrastructure, emergency food and shelter. Many Florida residents say the piecemeal aid is not enough to cover the many billions in damage.
Those Floridians who still have homes to go back to and could afford insurance face significantly higher deductibles when claiming damage insurance checks. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992 the state legislature passed new rules generously easing the payout burden for insurance companies, which were leaving in droves because of the $15.5 billion worth of insured damage caused by Andrew.