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Disaster Recovery Workshops In St. Augustine This Week Tackle Flood Insurance And Home Elevation

A man sweeps outside of his buisness after Hurricane Mathew passed.
Ryan Benk
Dave Border cleans up debris from Hurricane Mathew in front of his shop in St. Augustine.

St. Augustine home owners will have the opportunity to attend two educational disaster recovery workshops this week.

The free workshops are hosted by the nonprofit Compass 82, which specializes in disaster recovery, and the home elevation groupDucky Johnson Home Elevations.

The first workshop will be on Wednesday, April 11, at 6:00 p.m. in the Willie Galimore Recreation Center on 399 Riberia St. The second workshop will be on on Thursday, April 12, at 6:00 p.m. at the Southeast Branch of the St. Johns County Public Library located at 6670 U.S. 1 South.

“Our goal is to educate homeowners and let them be aware of what’s happening with flood insurance and new height level requirements,” said Susan Martichek, Executive Director of Compass 82. “It’s a beginning conversation but we think it’s very important to make sure we have education for the community.”

The three main topics of the educational workshop are flood insurance claims and how to navigate them, state programs and how to know what is available to the community, and contractor fraud. Workshops will also cover topics such as disaster recovery, coping with “disaster fog”, advocating lawmakers to increase grants and recovery programs, and discussing the possible increase in the cost of flood insurance in the future.

Marticek said through Compass 82 she is passing on information gained from her experience  dealing with 2012’s Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey.

Many homeowners in the Garden State were blindsided by the hurricane, she said, adding she believes residents could have returned home quicker and obtained all the insurance they were entitled to if they had taken the proper precautions and known what was available to them.

The organization has brought the workshop to the First Coast to speak about home elevation and flood insurance, Marticek said, because it is a “high concentration” area and is at risk of flooding due to rising sea levels.

Marticek said the goal is to create more resilient communities, educate homeowners and to prepare them for a flood or other natural disaster. “As a nation we can’t handle too many years like last year was,” she said.

The workshops come after anannouncement from the hurricane researchers at the Colorado State University predicting a “a slightly above-average” Atlantic hurricane season this year. There are already 14 named storms for this years season.

Gabrielle Garay can be reached at, 904-358-6317, or on Twitter at @GabbyAGaray

Gabrielle Garay is a WJCT News intern for spring 2018.