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Tampa hurricane response distribution center opens on Ian anniversary

Nicole Rogers 2023-09-28
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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) -- Communities in the Tampa Bay area are still recovering from Hurricane Ian one year later. "I've never seen that much destruction to roofs, exteriors, fences, all at once with everybody going through the same issue," Ledgewood Roofing Owner Rhett Huffaker said. The destructive Category 4 hurricane battered the state of Florida, taking the lives of 151 people. Berta Quiles says, as a Florida resident, her home had been slowly deteriorating from these storms for years. After Hurricane Ian hit, she knew something had to be done. "Over time and under trees and everything, just shingle damage and everything like that was really alerted us to see, why is there pieces of roof on the floor?" Quiles said. Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay invested $32,000 into Quiles home at no cost to her. Since Hurricane Ian hit one year ago, the nonprofit has worked on 605 other homes, helping to truly rebuild Tampa Bay. "We come in and we do the immediate response, tarping, the mucking and gutting and then after that we move into the long term recovery phase," Senior Director of Operations Brandy Canada said. "At that point we're helping people rebuild their houses." "So we're putting in new drywall, new flooring, air conditioners, roofing, all of the things they need to be safe and habitable back in their house," she continued. The organization is now opening its first hurricane response distribution center in Tampa. All 5,000 square feet is being filled with the things Tampa Bay area residents will need immediately following natural disasters like hurricanes. They're helping people like Quiles rebuild one step at a time. "That storm was just the storm of last year, there's still this year, next year and years to come," she said. "It just gives us that confidence that we have a structure over us that will protect us now."

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