The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Operation Blue Roof is a free program that is benefitting homeowners in 29 Florida counties including those in Pinellas and the City of Gulfport as the result of damage caused by Hurricane Irma that whipped through the area from Sunday, September 10 to Monday, September 11, 2017.
Program administration for Florida is being sponsored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers out of the Jacksonville district office.
According to an agency press release, the program “provides a temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. The blue plastic sheeting is installed using strips of wood that are secured to the roof with nails or screws.”
Only primary residences with standard shingle roofs are eligible. According to the press release, “metal roofs and mobile homes may be repaired as practical on a case-by-case basis. Roofs with greater than 50 percent structural damage are not eligible for this program.”
“We’re here to service the need and help people get back to normalcy as soon as possible,” said Jacqueline Tate, Army Corps of Engineers public affairs officer from the Tampa recovery field office.
Residents should apply as soon as possible and they need to bring a form of identification as proof of residency address such as a driver’s license, said Tate.
Renters can also apply for the program with identification and written permission from their landlord in the form of a simple and brief letter. “The letter does need to state that the renters will occupy the residence during the repair process,” said Tate. “We’re not turning anyone away. The letters from landlords are based on the honor system.”
The Operation Blue Roof Right of Entry (ROE) application center for Pinellas County is located at Smiley’s Coffee House, 12629 Ulmerton Road, Largo 33774. The coffee house is a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks. All applications must be made in person from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The ROE center will be open while demand lasts.
Pinellas County still has tarps and the center is operating, said Tate.
For further information, call 1-888-766-3258 or on the Web, visit: saj.usace.army.mil/BlueRoof.
After completing the application process, which includes signing a Right of Entry form, government employees or licensed contractors will assess the roof damage. If the residence qualifies, the application of temporary reinforced tarp materials will be scheduled.
From Friday, September 15 through Tuesday, September 26, “we’ve probably done about 2,000 roofs in Pinellas County,” said a FEMA contractor who lives in Gulfport. “The Blue Roof program helps people to regroup financially regarding missing shingles and leaks. It’s a temporary fix because roofing and insurance companies are backed up for months.”