Fund created to help victims of Land O’ Lakes sinkhole

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) – A fund has been created to help victims of the sinkhole that swallowed two homes and created unsafe living conditions at five other homes in a Land O’ Lakes neighborhood on Friday.

The Land O’ Lakes community is devastated over what’s at the end of the street. Now, county officials are working together to help the victims.

“I have to say seeing it on TV is very different than seeing it live and this is just devastating for our community and I’m just very thankful we had no loss of life,” said Kathryn Starkey, Pasco County commissioner.

Starkey had the same reaction everyone’s had when they see this massive sinkhole.

“Sinkholes are fairly common here but this is not common and it’s just a tragedy,” she said.

Now that the damage is done, Starkey and the rest of the community are working to get this neighborhood back on their feet.

The families who lived in the two homes that were destroyed were renting the homes and did not have renter’s insurance, authorities said during a news conference on Monday morning.

Five other homes were impacted by the sinkhole, which is 225 feet wide and 50 feet deep. The five homes were determined to be unsafe. They have been evacuated as a precaution.

“We are going to do whatever we can to help our citizens be safe and secure in their homes,” Starkey said.

The county has partnered with United Way and created a fund to help the sinkhole victims. During this devastating time, county administrators didn’t want anyone impacted to feel alone.

RELATED STORY: Videos tell story of homes destroyed by Land O’ Lakes sinkhole

“For us at United Way, it’s live united. When we all work together in common purpose, we’re living united. We’re hoping to work together again along with Pasco County, our commissioners and all to help those impacted by this sinkhole,” said Alice Delgardo of United Way.

Authorities say repair and recovery expenses will push the residents beyond their financial capacity.

One hundred percent of the donated funds will be used to assist victims in their recovery, and zero administrative funds will be used by United Way of Pasco County.

Many people in the neighborhood have said they don’t have much to give their neighbors, but they’ll do whatever they can to help.

“We gotta help them. Every neighbor has to help them,” said resident Nulvi Mauari.

United Way will seek donations to match those made by concerned citizens in the community.

“Our ability to work together alongside businesses, government, donors, and community leaders to answer this crisis demonstrates how we ‘live united’ in Pasco County,” said Delgardo.

Ways to give:

  • Text the word SINKHOLE  to 41444
  • Donate online at unitedwaypasco.org
  • Mail your donation to United Way of Pasco County – 17230 Camelot Court Land O’Lakes, FL 34638

Citizens who need help can reach out to the following:

  • American Red Cross
  • The Salvation Army of Pasco County
  • Monday-Friday Pasco County Human Services at 727.847.2411
  • Call the United Way of Pasco County 2-1-1; toll free at 1-877-828-8929

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