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'Operation Blue Roof' expands to Clay, St. Johns counties

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A month after Hurricane Irma passed the area, the federal government is offering temporary help for homeowners of Clay and St. Johns counties who suffered roof damage.

Representatives with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be at the Lowe's on Blanding Boulevard in Middelburg on  and Home Depot on U.S. 1 in St. Augustine between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Friday for residents to sign up for Operation Blue Roof.

The Corps of Engineers' program offers temporary repairs for standard shingled roofs. Metal roofs and mobile homes will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Roofs with more than 50 percent structural damage are not eligible. Only primary residences with standard shingled roofs are eligible for the program. The free program sends licensed contractors to homes to cover damaged roofs with tarps until homeowners can make permanent repairs.

The program was made available in 19 counties in South and Central Florida soon after the storm, but was recently expended to include Clay and St. Johns counties. People in other counties can contact their local emergency manager or area Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery center to find out whether free self-help tarps are being distributed in your area.

Operation Blue Roof sends contractors out to install blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. The blue plastic sheeting is installed using strips of wood that are secured to the roof with nails or screws.

For rental property, legal permission for a blue roof to be installed must be obtained from the property owner. Renters must also obtain legal permission from their landlord to continue occupying the residence until more permanent repairs are made.

Homeowners must sign a right-of-entry form to allow government employees and contractors onto their property to assess damage and install the temporary covering.