Seminole County

Seminole County opens FEMA assistance application sites for Hurricane Ian damage

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Long after Hurricane Ian swept through Central Florida, many residents are trying to rebuild their homes and communities.


People living in Seminole County have been showing up at local sites for help on applying for eligible FEMA assistance.

The agency is bringing its mobile site to cities across the country.

Read: Need FEMA assistance? Here’s what to expect when you apply

FEMA was stationed at the Cultural Center on Clear Lake Lane on Thursday, where people went for help.

Some walked out of the site feeling relieved, while others felt disappointed and were not sure what to do next.

Everyone had one thing in common, though — they just want to get back to normal life, which is still the reaiity for many people in the county.

“About 3 feet of water in my home, (and) I have to take the boat in,” said Angela Zwarycz. “I’m trying to go every day and recover things, and just take what I can out.”

Read: ‘A nightmare’: Seminole County residents near Saint Johns River still plagued with flooding issues

Zwarycz has no place to live, and when she went to FEMA for help, she said she left with a longer list of things to do, including creating a password and documenting the process

“They’re telling me to go on the computer and I don’t have a computer,” she said.

Each person who walked in and out of the Oviedo Cultural Center had a different story and set of struggles.

Some were too distraught to talk to Channel 9, but were willing to share video of the damage they have to fix.

Read: Here are the Central Florida counties eligible for FEMA assistance after Ian

Theron Houston said FEMA gave him all the answers he needed.

“I feel a little better, at least the water is out of my backyard,” he said.

Rosa Browdy-Jones believes the road to recovery for her disabled sister now seems a little longer.

“I went online to fill out an application for her and when I went online, it would not accept her address because someone else used her address,” she said.

She was given a phone number to a FEMA fraud line, but she said that based on wait times from earlier this week, she isn’t sure she will have success.

“I did call, but the wait is so long, you have to wait like 160 minutes,” Browdy-Jones said.

More than 10,000 people in Seminole County have applied for FEMA assistance.

The site will move to the Winter Springs Civic Center on Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

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