Panama City- City Commissioners move forward with the local housing assistance plan

Hurricane Michael

Bay County, (Fla) — Housing continues to be a problem post storm for residents in Panama City…But there is hope.

Panama city – City Commissioners  approved a recommendation to move forward with the local housing assistance plan.

“It made me realize that when you are dying out there is someone here to help,” said John Hunt, a Panama City resident. “All you have to do is ask.”

Hunt’s home was destroyed by hurricane michael. His roof got messed up and he watched a tree fall through his roof. 

Like many others he was not able to pay to fix the damages out of pocket.

“If you believe that you will get some help you will get some help,” said Hunt. “It might not be today, it might not be in the next hour, but it will come.”

Tuesday morning the Panama City City Commission approved moving forward with the Local Housing Assistance Program or LHAP.

The plan is vital to getting Panama City’s housing market back on track..

“Housing is the long pole in the tent for our recovery here in Panama city,” said Mark McQueen, the city manager. 

But Panama City is unique when it comes to home  ownership.

Only 30 percent of residents are homeowners while 70 percent are renters. With help from LHAP – the goal is to help more people buy an affordable home.

“What this does is it helps folks with rental assistance and down payment assistance and it helps with rebuilding owner occupied homes,” said McQueen. “It also helps deposit assistance for utilities.”

The state granted Bay County 36 million dollars in recovery assistance — 8 million going to Panama City…but now with COVID-19, there has been an increase in need for assistance.

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