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Columbia County Observer

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The Feds Step Up to the Plate: Federal Support for Hurricane Ian Recovery Surpasses $1.39 Billion

President Biden at FEMA along side of Ian devistation with headline: Feds step up to the plate: Federal support for Hurricane Ian recovery surpasses $1.39 billion
Photos: FEMA & WPLG | Columbia County Observer graphic

WASHINGTON & FLORIDA – More than $1.39 billion in federal grants, disaster loans, and flood insurance payments have been provided to Florida and households to help jumpstart the recovery after Hurricane Ian. FEMA has provided $619 million to households and $322 million to the state for emergency response. The U.S. Small Business Administration has provided $264 million in disaster loans, while the National Flood Insurance Program has paid $184 million in claims.

FEMA is Helping Floridians

• FEMA has made individual assistance available to 26 counties. Residents in Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties are eligible to apply for Individual Assistance.

• FEMA is meeting survivors where they are. Disaster Survivor Assistance specialists have interacted with more than 56,900 survivors in counties designated for Individual Assistance.

Additionally, survivors can visit one of 18 Disaster Recovery Centers operating in Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee (2 locations), Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties. More centers are planned to open in the coming days. As centers are added, real-time locations will be updated at FloridaDisaster.org.

• FEMA will pay hotel and motel costs for eligible survivors. FEMA and the state of Florida activated the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program, which allows FEMA to make payments directly to participating hotels and motels in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia that provide emergency shelter to survivors. As of today, the program is providing housing for 2,089 households with 5,292 members.

• FEMA inspectors have performed over 155,000 home inspections for survivors who applied for federal disaster assistance.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $264 million in low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, and business owners. Business Recovery Centers are located in Collier, DeSoto, Hillsborough, Lee, and Seminole counties.

• FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has received more than 42,000 flood insurance claims and paid more than $184 million to policyholders, including $123 million in advance payments.

NFIP policyholders may receive up to $1,000 to reimburse the purchase of supplies like sandbags, plastic sheeting, and lumber. They may also receive up to $1,000 in storage expenses if they moved insured property. Policyholders should file a claim for flood loss avoidance reimbursement, regardless of whether it successfully prevented flood damage.

• Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to eligible survivors. Floridians can file a claim for loss of income caused by Hurricane Ian by going to Disaster Unemployment Assistance - FloridaJobs.org and select "Apply for Hurricane Ian DUA," visiting a local CareerSource Career Center, or calling  800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.

• Low-income Florida residents recovering from Hurricane Ian may be eligible for assistance from the Department of Agriculture's Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP). By visiting the Florida Department of Children and Families' Hurricane Ian Response & Recovery website, survivors can find more information on Florida's D-SNAP program.

• Operation Blue Roof has installed 11,587 roofs. This free service is provided to homeowners and is currently operating in Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Lee, and Sarasota counties. Residents impacted by Hurricane Ian can sign up at BlueRoof.us or call toll-free at 1-888-ROOF-BLU (1-888-766-3258) for more information. The call center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

• National Flood Insurance Program Florida policyholders who had flood damage from the hurricane have a 90-day window to renew their policies. The extension applies to policies with renewal dates beginning Aug. 25 through Oct. 23. Policyholders whose renewal date is in this range should contact their agent or insurance company. FEMA also extended the proof of loss requirement for flood insurance policyholders in Florida who experienced flood damage from Hurricane Ian from 60 to 365 days. For more information on filing a flood insurance claim, visit How to Start Your Flood Insurance Claim.

If you or a member of your household uses adaptive or accessibility items that Hurricane Ian damaged, you may be eligible for FEMA assistance for those items. For homeowners, items can include an exterior ramp, grab bars, and a paved pathway to the home's entrance from a vehicle. For more information for homeowners and renters, visit Update to FEMA's Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide. Awards do not count toward your Housing Assistance or Personal Property maximum awards.

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