Hotel living after Ian washes away homes

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Paul Dolan

Homes were washed away during Hurricane Ian and many people can’t afford rent prices, so they’ve turned to hotels without anywhere else to go.

But, because so many people are looking for places to stay, hotels can quickly get crowded.

Chris Murawski is one of those people looking to make a hotel room his temporary solution after Ian.

“I’m homeless unless I can find a place that’s reasonable for six months,” Murawski said. “But it’s hard to find right now.”

Murawski lived on Sanibel, and her home won’t be safe to return to for around six months. This week she stayed at the Residence Inn Marriott in Fort Myers, but after that, she has no plans.

“You just start losing hope after a while,” Murawski said. “It’s like, where do I go from here in a week?”

WINK News called hotels throughout Lee County, most of which are fully booked. Some explained they won’t have any availability through the end of the year, while others won’t be available until March.

Hotel rooms becoming more difficult to book after Hurricane Ian. CREDIT: WINK News

Bob Schoen and his wife were packing up at the Residence Inn Marriott because their daughters found them a condo in Babcock Ranch for the next six months.

“They were able to find one out there, which costs a lot, which cost me quite a bit of money,” Schoen said.

Schoen lived on Sanibel with his wife for the last 11 years. Ian destroyed his home and belongings, and all he has left is inside a UHaul.

“It’s been hell. The uncertainty of it all. It’s been terrible,” Schoen said. “And you know, now knowing that what may happen to our home makes it even worse.”

Lee County commissioners said on Tuesday they have a phased approach to help based on the needs identified by FEMA.

Those options include FEMA trailers, increasing housing stock, and multi family-lease and repair.

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