The Eastpoint Fire Station initially opened up for those evacuees, and those who didn't find a place with family or friends, were directed to the Eastpoint Church of God. The American Red Cross was busy registering people, and offering them an overnight shelter.
Emergency Management Director Pam Brownell said 36 homes were obliterated, and another four damaged. She said 136 people were directly affected as possibly homeless now among the 250 or so who had registered with the American Red Cross as of Monday evening.
She and Joe Taylor, director of the Franklin’s Promise Coalition, which is the long-term recovery organization designated by the county’s emergency management, were out doing a closer inventory late Monday afternoon, bringing food and water to the barren properties as they assess the details of the disaster.
Sharon Tyler, who directs the Capital Area Red Cross, said that after a full house Sunday evening, the Eastpoint Church of God had no overnight stays Monday, but they plan to keep it open as shelter anyway.
“We expect the population to increase,” she said, noting that several people may find that the emergency housing they were able to find at area hotels and friends isn’t sustainable for much longer.
“We’re keeping that option open,” Tyler said.
Franklin’s Promise is looking for long-term rentals for the fire’s families, but with ongoing and growing demand for short-term transient housing geared to tourists, such options may be few and far between.
In addition Sheriff A. J. Smith has created a GoFundMe page which has so far raised about $60,000, all of that to be spent on housing for those affected.
In addition there has been a massive outreach by local and even regional and national people to get help to those affected.
The emergency management effort is being coordinated out of the Eastpoint Fire Station.
The Florida Department of Emergency Management’s Human Services Branch is coordinating with Volunteer Florida to identify non-governmental organizations with resources to support families and individuals affected in Franklin. Services have included: the Salvation Army provided mobile feeding to affected households and a shelter designated at Eastpoint Church of God, managed by the American Red Cross, which is conducting damage assessment and providing direct client services
Additionally, the state agency’s Human Services Branch is coordinating with private sector partners including Airbnb and the Florida Motel Association to identify available support for housing for vulnerable families and individuals affected by this tragedy, state officials wrote in an email.
It said the Office of the Attorney General has deployed a victim’s advocacy team to the affected area to assess the situation and offer assistance should it be necessary.