House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle

by Doorways of NWFL
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle
House 50 Hurricane Survivors in the FL Panhandle


FEMA residents: It’s difficult to imagine, but nearly three years following Hurricane Michael, recovery is still underway. Doorways has been tirelessly working with the remaining 8 residents that are still in FEMA Housing providing case management and financial assistance. Of these survivors, four were homeowners who ae unable to return to their destroyed homes and four are renters who are either elderly or in poor health, making it difficult to for them to afford the skyrocketed rental rates. However, we were able to assist two of the four homeowners with securing insurance, paying for electric hook-ups and making water deposits enabling them to move into newly purchased FEMA trailers that they now own and the four renters are slotted to move into a new income-based apartment complex that are expected to be available in the next 30 days. We have worked with each of these families to assist with replacement of identification documents, electric, water, application fees and will assist with paying the rental deposits when they are ready to move into the new apartments.


The Community Resource Center (CRC) - formerly the Community Recovery Center:

The CRC continues to see residents. Since Doorways took over operations of the CRC in May 2019, we have assisted 4, 886 residents over 85% of whom were impacted by Hurricane Michael; 92% of those survivors resided in Bay County, the hardest hit of the six counties we serve. Housing remains the most highly requested assistance. In late June, the CRC is moving to a new location where we can also offer food distribution and showers in addition to our current suite of services. The new location is part of a defunct school campus where we will be part of a larger resiliency center created in response to the fact that our area had three concurrent states of emergencies – and we never know what will happen next. This campus can also double as a disaster shelter and Command Center should we have another disaster.


New Activity:

In response to COVID-19 and those still struggling from the Hurricane, The City of Panama City has purchased three modular housing units that have been donated to us through Rebuild Bay County, Inc. The units will be used for a combination of temporary housing in the event of another disaster and beginning later this month to serve as a permanent housing solution for homeless families. Photos of the units are attached to this report. If the pilot is successful, the City has agreed to purchase additional units. The units will be located adjacent to the CRC.

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Activity: During the period October 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020 Doorways was asked by Bay County to assist with distribution of CARES Act funding. The funding was allocated for rental/mortgage and utility arrears, child or elder care expenses and food for household that lost income due to COVID-19. In less than 7 weeks, Doorways had 697 visitors to the CRC, processed 459 client applications totaling 761 transactions and nearly allocated $890,000 for CARES distribution alone. The funding had a very short spending period (funds had to be expended by December 20), and since there was quite a bit of overlap with COVID impacted households and those who were also Hurricane Michael impacted, we were able to leverage our GlobalGiving funding by using the COVID money to keep survivors who we had previously assisted stably housed. We were able to preserve our GlobalGiving dollars to assist the 34 remaining FEMA housing cases who are set to vacate between now and the final date of occupancy on March 1.


With the incredible job loss continuing for the foreseeable future, we anticipate the needs of our community to be quite vast.  Our area remains in three states of emergency – 2 natural disasters and one pandemic. In addition to Doorways paid staff, we employed 6 volunteer staff representing 1,754 volunteer hours totaling $26,310 worth of labor. In addition, the Community Resource Center, which is operated by Doorways saw 4,590 visitors since its inception in May 2019. 87% of the visitors were Hurricane Michael survivors.


Use of Funding: Doorways was able to serve 18 clients over the period as follows: 3 people were relocated, 7 clients were sheltered, 3 clients were placed in hotels while awaiting permanent housing, 2 clients moved into permanent housing, 2 clients received assistance with past due rent and utility charges and 1 client was assisted with payment of a storage unit while moving. insurance for 2 households who needed homeowners/flood insurance; provided 5 households with


Disaster Case Management: The DCMP program ended on January 8, 2021, which resulted in the transfer of nearly 300 cases to Doorways and Rebuild Bay County. Doorways is handling lot fees and/or insurance for those purchasing the mobile FEMA unit they were utilizing, rental deposits, utility/mortgage arrears and small moving expenses such as storage trailers, etc.  

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The period July 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020, the Community Resource Center (CRC) was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, however, staff still worked at the CRC and fielded 1,234 calls for assistance. On October 1, 2020, we re-opened the CRC to the public by appointment as well as walk-ins. In accordance with CDC protocols, we scan visitors and staff for temperature, we conduct a symptom and travel questionnaire and provide masks for those who do not have their own. In addition, we employed volunteers who assembled food bags, made deliveries to shut-in’s, elderly and high-risk residents, and conducted sanitization of the work space for our employees. Included in the food bags were masks, testing site locations and symptoms/treatment information for COVID-19. With the incredible job loss, hours reduction and schools closing over this period, food service was the highest requested item for assistance. Volunteer hours totaled 1,264 hours for the period at a value of $18,963.00.


Rebuild Activities: With the loss of nearly all nonprofit builders, Rebuild Bay has spent the past few months coordinating the Unmet Needs Funding Table for those still struggling with Hurricane Michael devastation. The Funding table meets once per week to assist survivors with purchase of FEMA trailers, new home purchases, repair financing, lot fees, rental deposits, moving fees, storage fees, insurance for newly purchased home or trailer and other unmet needs. Beginning with the winter break, true rebuild activities will resume and volunteers have already committed to return to the area. The Unmet Needs Committee has funded 130 cases for a total of over $350,000 of which Doorways plays an important role.


Use of Funding: Doorways was able to provide deposit and/or first month’s rent for 4 Hurricane Michael impacted households; we provided 1 household with utility assistance; paid salary for 3 volunteers for a two week period when the Hurricane Michael displaced worker’s grant was temporarily suspended due to funding issues; paid insurance for 2 households who needed home owners/flood insurance; provided 5 households with lot fees for newly purchased trailers. We also purchased food and hygiene products for distribution to Hurricane Michael households and finally, in conjunction with Rebuild Bay County, we assisted in the purchase of household items for 20 families who moved back into their repaired homes in the form of a “Welcome Home Basket”.


Disaster Case Management: The DCMP program has been extended by FEMA until November 24, 2020. Unfortunately, we have three simultaneous states of Emergency at this time. Due to the fact that we anticipate the vast need and would like to facilitate a smooth transition, Doorways will absorb the cost of one disaster case manager beginning Monday, October 19, 2020 so that we can continue to work with struggling families who were not only impacted by Michael, but also Hurricane Sally and COVID-19. In addition, at the completion of the DCMP program Doorways will receive 160 cases that were not closed during the program period.

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Doorways Update April 2020


We are not unlike other communities around the globe, where this past quarter brought many changes to our lives, our service delivery, and the global community.  Effective March 19, 2020 our area is under two declared states of Emergency – one from Hurricane Michael, which continues from 2018 and a second related to COVID-19.  According to our Emergency Operations Chief, this is unprecedented.    

Rebuild work:  Although we predicted embarking on the busiest time for rebuild work, we had nearly all of our non-profit builders and volunteers return home due to the COVID-19 Pandemic leaving just two local organizations.  This has obviously reduced our ability to make much progress on rebuilds/repairs.  To date we have 92 completed rebuilds.  One of our larger non-profit partners, Catholic Charities is just now starting to work on completing roofing work.  We are hopeful that work can resume soon.    

Use of funding:With Island Spirit Funding we were able to serve 14 Hurricane Survivors in the following manner: 6 clients were provided temporary shelter who needed stabilization or were awaiting housing; 2 clients were relocated to family outside of our area; 3 homeless clients were housed; 2 clients received rent assistance and 1 client received past due utility assistance.

Disaster Case Management: The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) is currently working remotely and unable to visit with survivors due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  There are still over 300 households in FEMA trailers and/or FEMA direct Housing not to mention the households that are literally homeless.  Doorways works hand in hand with the DCMP providers in the Northwest Florida region by providing resources, housing solutions and financial assistance to many of their clients.


Community Recovery/Resource Center (CRC): Finally, the chart below illustrates the types of services that Doorways and the other organizations present at the CRC are providing daily.  In this report, we are reflecting data through March 12, which was the last day that we were open to the public.  We decided to close due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the protection of our staff and community.  We continue to serve clients through electronic means, phone calls and document drop off locations.  Effective June 15, 2020 the CRC will re-open by appointment only.    



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Doorways Update April 30, 2020


This past quarter brought with it a second declared disaster (3/13/20) for the NWFL region. While still recovering from Hurricane Michael, we, like everyone else have been hit hard by rising unemployment, uncertainty, food shortages and the like due to COVID-19.  

Rebuild work:Prior to March 2020, we began to receive many volunteer groups to assist with home repairs. In March, the majority of the rebuild volunteers, as well as locally based rebuild groups from other areas who were on long-term deployment to our area have all pulled out. We are left with two organizations to tackle the large pipeline of households awaiting home rebuilds/repairs. Our total rebuilds to date stand at about 102 completed.  Since much, but thankfully not all, of the rebuild/repair work is not being completed, Rebuild Bay County inc., the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Organization has repurposed to assist with food distribution and coordination, as well as Personal Protective Equipment request coordination and distribution.

Use of funding:

As a direct result of the funding received from GlobalGiving, we provided financial assistance for transportation (bus tickets to leave the area to live with family), past due utilities and rent and down payment assistance for a total of 18 individuals. 9 of these individuals were provided temporary shelter and four of them were stably housed. Some of the shelter clients will remain with us until the job market begins to pick up. We are currently still working to identify housing options so we have the ability to move people out of temporary shelter into a home. We also provided trolley (local bus) rides; provided 209 food boxes to elderly, shut-ins and large Foster Care families as well as diapers, hygiene supplies, socks and assorted clothing for approximately 60 residents. Finally, we provided case management for 12 individuals; and provided 1 gas card.

We received our “A Better Shelter” unit! We are in the process of prioritizing a family to use the shelter.


Disaster Case Management: The Disaster Case Management Program (DCMP) was launched in mid-January. To date, there are currently over 1,500 cases in the pipe-line seeking assistance. Effective early March, the DCMP program moved to remote services only. No one to one meetings have taken place due to COVID-19. The Community Resource/Recovery Center is closed to the public, so like DCMP, all client interactions are being handled electronically or by appointment when necessary.


Due to COVID-19, we have adapted our intake and screening to include specific COVID education and related questions such as do you know where to go for help, testing, food, etc.


From May 2019 - Through February 2020, the Resource/Recovery Center saw 3,468 clients. In the month of March, after moving to electronic service delivery, we fielded 276 phones calls and provided 557 services for those callers.   Services include referrals to other service providers; rental assistance; past due utility and rent assistance; food box delivery and drive through; Street Outreach to homeless; veterans services; ID services; food stamp enrollment; apartment search, etc.

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Organization Information

Doorways of NWFL

Location: Panama City, FL - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @N/A
Project Leader:
Yvonne Petrasovits
Panama City, FL United States
$130,737 raised of $200,000 goal
69 donations
$69,263 to go
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