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County officials urging tent city community to find a more permanent housing solution

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YOUNGSTOWN, Fla. — Hurricane Michael’s strong winds destroyed homes, buildings, businesses and more. The storm took out many of the housing options in the area and left residents homeless. 

One woman saw the need for housing following the hurricane and opened her property to those in need. With limited housing options, many were forced to find alternative shelter such as tents. 

With few places to put these tents, Shelley Summers did what she could to help and opened a tent community on her property to anyone needing a place to stay. 

However, it’s been 8 months since the storm and county officials said it’s time to think of more permanent solutions. 

“We are not asking them to vacate the property, any of the survivors. What we’re asking them to do is continue communication with us and let’s figure out a soft landing for these survivors,” said Assistant County Manager, Joel Schubert. 

On Friday, county officials sent a letter to the homeowner and referenced several complaints from those in the area regarding improper clearing of land and issues with the people living on the property.

We reached out to Summers, and she refused to comment on the matter at this time. 

The letter went on to suggest that county staff and the homeowner get together and figure out solutions for those currently living there. 

Assistant County Manager, Joel Schubert, said communication is key in a situation like this. 

“We certainly understand the scope of the problem for the entire county, and we try to address that but as far as other solutions, we don’t know what the problem is to even go through the menu of solutions,” he said. 

Code enforcement has been lenient while people rebuild their properties but there will come a time when they start issuing citations to violations. 

“We want to make sure when code enforcement does start and that will be in October of this year, that we’ve already found a solution, or we are well on the way and there’s a plan,” he said. 

At this time, there is no set deadline as far as when they want everyone to find a more permanent option but county officials said they are confident a solution will be reached if communication plays a big part in the process. 
 

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