Southwest Florida on the road to recovery one month after Irma

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NAPLES, Fla. Tuesday marked one month since Hurricane Irma struck Southwest Florida.

The storm hit on Sept. 10 and left communities underwater, mounds of debris and many displaced families.

Nearly 66 thousand families have registered for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $11.4 million in rental help has been provided for Collier County residents, according to Collier County emergency manager Dan Summers.

MORE: Cape Coral creates Irma debris cleanup progress map

Piles of downed trees, branches and other debris can still be seen in some neighborhoods, but the cleanup process continues.

Chokoloskee, Immokalee and Naples Estates are among some of the many neighborhoods where homes were completely destroyed by Irma.

“We’ve gone through a tragedy here and we have to live together,” Naples Estate resident Linda Rinde said.

A massive pine tree fell on Rinde’s carport, but she can still live in her home while others weren’t so fortunate.

“I never thought I’d see my house standing,” Rinde said.

While the road to recovery seems long, Summers asks residents to remain patient.

“We ask everyone to continue to be patient. Be kind to your neighbor and this community is doing everything it can to make those conditions better,” Summers said.

MORE: How to report FEMA fraud after Hurricane Irma

Across Collier County, 256 families have been approved for temporary housing under FEMA and are living in hotels, apartments or trailers.

FEMA told WINK News Tuesday a representative is expected to come from Orlando tomorrow to scout sites for trailers, but there is not a specific timeline for their arrival.

“The Department of Emergency Management will continue to work with counties to make sure FEMA meets the housing needs of this community. We are 100 percent committed to the full recovery of every resident in Florida,” said Alberto Moscoso, Florida Division of Emergency Management Communications Director.

The Division and the State Emergency Response Team are working with local and federal officials to meet the needs of those individuals impacted by the storm, Moscoso said. Information collected after Irma is being used to develop innovative solutions to housing issues.

MORE: Hurricane Irma causes $2.5B in damage to Florida crops

Quinn Street in Bonita Springs is beginning to show improvement after knee-high floodwater surrounded the area for weeks.

Imperial Parkway and streets in Lehigh Acres have finally dried out and resurfaced.

Debris lining the streets doesn’t bother Citrus Park resident Jean Conklin, who is just now starting repairs on her home, because she is glad the worst is over.

“We have a lot of a destruction, but it’s all material. It can all be replaced. We’re here, no place else to go after 30 years and I’m very happy here. I’m just going to fix everything and start all over again,” Conklin said.

With still more work to be done, neighbors continue to band together during this time of need.

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