Island Park community struggling to recover months after Hurricane Irma

Blue tarps go on for miles and miles in the Island Park community.

This thin blue layer used to protect homes from the elements were put in place last year, after Hurricane Irma caused destruction to Southwest Florida.

“It’s been ten months of hell,” said Island Park resident Angelo Renda. “The roofs aren’t done. I’ve had my furniture in storage for the past ten months. It’s unreal.”

Renda says that despite having a blue tarp, he moved back into his home this week.

His home flooded out twice last year, and he isn’t the only one. There are more than 200 homes in the community, and only, about, 20 families have moved back since Hurricane Irma.

MORE: Island Park residents finding new place to call home after Irma

“There’s 207 homes in my neighborhood that had damage, and only about 20 of us have moved back,” said Island Park resident Lisa Absher. “Like other disasters, many people have sold (their homes). A lot of people have out their homes up for sale here and down Island Park Road.”

Renda says his blue tarp will stay there as we start Hurricane season again.

“The roof is going to take another 2 to 6 months to get it done, and it’s another six months and the hurricane season is starting next month,” Renda said.

Absher, organizer for the community lobbying group, say the insurance problems are holding up the repairs.

“Royal Woods has had a challenge from their homeowners association point of view,” Absher said. “The reason we have blue tarps on our roots is because of the condo insurance wasn’t handled well. It’s still in debate right now. That’s why people have tarps on the roofs.”

MORE: Island Park residents voice concerns on lack of neighborhood repairs

Renda is deciding to take matters into his own hands and is getting his own insurance, so he doesn’t get stuck in red tape and blue tarps again.

“I walked around today and there’s still some houses that haven’t been touched yet,” Renda said. “Get floor insurance and hurricane insurance right away.”

Reporter:John-Carlos Estrada
Writer:Emily Ford
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