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Building Tomorrow - The forgotten hurricane

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The Forgotten Hurricane

Two years ago, Kelly and her four children had just moved into an area where they finally felt safe. Then the hurricane came. After several moves, she and her kids are now on their way to putting the key in the door to a new home they own. Safe again, at last.

The apartment that Kelly and her four children –ages ten, seven, six and four years old – live in is fairly small, but cozy. The oldest son has just spent the first night on his own, in his own bed, Kelly tells.

“While we are here, I’m hoping that I can get the kids the different things that they need before we move into our new house,” she says.

The temporary apartment lacks many of the things that you normally would see in a home where four young children reside. Most of the family’s possessions were lost during Hurricane Michael. Kelly takes a deep breath and explains the situation as it was before the hurricane struck in October 2018.

Building Tomorrow - The forgotten hurricane
By the new house, the kids will have a lot of space where they can play.

Then the hurricane came, and the house was hit hard.

“I’m a police officer so I’ve seen some things, but this, this was different. Old oak trees knocked to the ground, houses with the roofs off in two seconds and pine trees snapping just in front of you. But all of the time, I tried to stay positive and calm for the kids,” she remembers.

They sought shelter through the church they belonged to and stayed with a family from the church for a while. Then the moving carousel started.

“For a while, we lived in a teeny tiny camper with only one room. But, just imagine having four children in one of those. They didn’t have anywhere to play, and we were not allowed to have toys around the camper.”

The apartment they live in now came after the camper. An upgrade in terms of living standards, but Kelly can’t really call it a proper home. Through her partnership with Habitat for Humanity she will own her own home very soon. It will be in a safe area, in Panama City. Hurricane season will come again, but a stable house in a safe neighborhood is still worth a lot for Kelly and her children.

“It will be nice to own a home. Just the fact that we don’t have to move again, it will be amazing. And I will feel proud of my kids, that they will live in an actual house.”

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Kelly and her four children had just moved to an area where they finally felt safe. Then the hurricane came. Now they are ready to put the key in the door to a new home.