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Panama City Officials Say Federal Disaster Funding Will Help Build Homes

Downed trees and power lines stretch for miles in the panhandle. This photo was taken in Panama City on 10/12/2018.
Charley and Briney King

After several delays, congress has signed off on a long-awaited supplemental disaster spending bill. It provides funding for housing in areas hit by Hurricane Michael. Panama City manager Mark McQueen says housing recovery is the community’s number one priority.

“And it has to be the number one priority if we’re going to change the economy of Panama City.  You can go around Panama City, and you see lots of businesses, hiring now signs, help wanted signs, that sort of things. When you start talking to those business owners, you ask them, what are the challenges of getting people to come apply to be employees, and invariably, they say there’s some people they don’t know where to live,” McQueen says.

The bill also allocates about $2 billion in community development block grants for states affected by disasters in the last year. President Donald Trump has not yet signed the measure.