Mandatory evacuation lifted at Good Samaritan Village, residents plead for help in restoring their homes

A mandatory evacuation has been lifted for residents of Good Samaritan Society, also known as Good Samaritan Village. While many residents are happy about it, there are several areas that won't be reopening, leaving some residents without a home. That's why many gathered at a meeting organized by Commissioner Peggy Choudhry.

Hundreds of residents from Good Samaritan Village crowded inside and outside on a bus, looking for answers, some feeling angry.

Osceola Commissioner Peggy Choudhry said she gathered FEMA, legal services and housing experts to help answer questions and look at claims one on one."People are upset, they’re frustrated and I don’t blame them. Many of our residents have lost everything."

Joe Marolis said he’s been fighting to get help for his 76-year-old mother, after her home was underwater, damaging her electric scooter, as well as her home. He said, "I’ve been on hold with FEMA for hours, I keep trying and trying to see if someone contacts us, access some damage or help us in anyway."

Now that the mandatory evacuation is lifted, a FEMA branch spokesperson Andrew Friend said, both site inspectors and residents can get a better look at the damage.

"Now that people can get back to their properties and actually see what’s occurred at their properties, they can come back and update their application with FEMA at any time.," said Friend.

But some are frustrated as they continue to wait for answers from Good Samaritan Village about their homes. Resident Miguel Velez says, "Good Samaritan are the culprits here, they’re the ones."

Good Samaritan Society, also known as Good Samaritan Village released a statement saying:

"We are grateful the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted for our Kissimmee Village campus, giving our skilled nursing, assisted living, and many independent living residents the opportunity to return home. Safety is our number one priority as residents and staff return to campus. We continue to work with a leading disaster and property restoration company to ensure the correct steps are being taken. Some of those items include, but are not limited to, power washing surfaces, assessments of units and buildings, moisture and air quality testing, debris cleanup, and collaboration with local agencies on the restoration of power. In accordance with Florida regulation, we are also seeking final approval of our return to campus plan for our skilled nursing and assisted living residents from the Agency for Healthcare Administration in Florida." But not everyone will be able to move back, ,"Due to the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, many of the independent living units at Kissimmee Village are unsafe for occupancy. After a thorough assessment of each unit by a leading disaster and recovery contractor, we have made the difficult decision to not restore independent living residential units in the following neighborhoods: Orangewood Place, Cypress Landings, Birchwood Court, Grand Oaks, Mapleleaf Shores and parts of Walnut Glen. Those living in impacted neighborhoods will receive a termination notice of their lease agreement with a termination date effective Dec. 1, 2022. Now that the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted, independent living residents may return to campus if they wish to collect personal belongings, view their unit or meet with staff. If residents would like any unwanted or damaged personal property discarded, they have the option to authorize staff to do so on their behalf." They also say, they warn residents to be prepared for something like this, "All independent living residents are provided with comprehensive information about flood and hurricane preparation and are encouraged to obtain appropriate renters’ insurance to cover such occurrences."

FEMA encourages anyone denied assistance to keep trying. You can go to a disaster recovery center located at the Hart Memorial Library in Kissimmee. Or call FEMA at 800-621-3352 Or try