Homeless: Houseboats Destroyed
An era is ending for former houseboat residents in Southern Florida.
That's because the high winds of Hurricane Wilma destroyed many houseboats, the floating homes for a number of area residents.
Here is the tale of John DeBlase, a (former) houseboat dweller, who was recently featured in an excellent above-the-fold A1 (Front Page) article by Miami Herald reporter Amy Driscoll.
Here's my quick summary of her article:
For 30+ years, John DeBlase (age 79) lived in a waterbound village in South Florida. That has changed due to Hurricane Wilma: Standing on the edge of the water, DeBlase recently identified his submerged home.
Only the roof (brown shingles) of Xanadu (a 24-foot by 50-foot houseboat) is visible. The rest of the dwelling and his possessions are underwater. As a homeowner, DeBlase was uninsured.
"Oh well," said DeBlase told the Herald. "It's the end of a chapter in my life."
He uses a cane, relies on assistance from friends and is hoping to receive financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). DeBlase is now homeless and even his car was "trashed" by Wilma.