Help surfaces for Pasco residents affected by floods

There's new help for people who've spent weeks underwater. Wednesday, Pasco County opened its Flood Recovery Center, offering help from food, to housing.

"Everything was just lost. I'm tired. I got mold in my house," said Rhoda Toth. "It's been hard."

Officials admit they weren't prepared for so many flood victims to show up hoping to be relocated. The Recovery Center at 7536 State Street in New Port Richey served about 70 people Wednesday, and will re-open Thursday in a larger office, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At last check, about 50 homes have been destroyed by flooding, and 500 other structures have been damaged. About 20 homes are still without power

For homes that are not livable, Pasco County is now offering vouchers for temporary housing, up to two weeks in a hotel.

Qualified renters or homeowners must be under 120 percent of the Tampa Bay median household income. For a family of four, that is $70,800.

"We're hearing today, quite a bit of people saying, 'I don't want to go to a shelter. I want to go somewhere else- to a new home, to a hotel, to something better than where I am,'" said Annette Doying, Emergency Management Director.

Residents should bring pay stubs and proof of residency as part of the application process to the Pasco County Flood Recovery Center.

Meanwhile, people living around the Anclote River are bracing for potentially more flooding with rain forecast to come their way. Pasco officials went door-to-door prepping those in high-risk areas for flooding and potential evacuations.

Watersheds remain at full capacity so any more rain or runoff will not be absorbed.

"We have some really bad weather coming our way," said Public Information Office Ignatius Carroll. "That has potential to make things worse. We have areas that were flooded, that will be more flooded."

"We have areas that had some minor flooding that are no longer flooded. They are going to get that rain again,” Carroll continued. “And, you have homes thinking they were safe. They end up having some flooding."

Federal help on the way. FEMA is scheduled to visit Pasco on Thursday to conduct a joint damage assessment of areas affected by flooding.

"Help. I need help," said Toni Cruz, who had just missed the 7:00  p.m. deadline at the Recovery Center.

"My living room caved in," Cruz said. "There's no running water, It's 90-some degrees inside my house because central air finally gave out. It's unbearable conditions."

She'll be back Thursday to try again, along with many others relying on the county, state and federal governments to keep their heads above water.

"It's just been really devastating," said Ralph Ververs. "I just don't know what I'm going to do if it's going to rain anymore."