Miami, FL -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have approved disaster assistance totaling more than $95.3 million to thousands of South Florida residents affected by the severe storms and flooding that swamped the area on October 3rd and 4th.
State and federal recovery officials said that disaster aid available to homeowners, renters and businesses includes: emergency housing assistance, low-interest SBA loans, legal services, free crisis counseling, disaster-related unemployment benefits, and, in some cases, grants to cover other uninsured or underinsured losses. The specific amount and type of assistance provided varies from case to case.
Key facts and figures in the five weeks since the presidential disaster declaration:
- Applications for Assistance: 50,113 individuals have called the toll-free registration number to register for assistance.
- Emergency Housing Assistance: $27.4 million in housing assistance has been approved for 19,028 households, including $14.6 million for rental assistance and $12.7 million for emergency home repairs. To date, 35,237 of 35,753 flood-damaged homes (nearly 99% of requests) have been inspected
- Individual and Family Grants: $18.7 million has been approved in grants to meet serious needs not covered by insurance or charitable organizations.
- SBA: $11.1 million approved for low-interest disaster-related loans to 893 eligible homeowners, renters and businesses.
- Public Assistance Reimbursements: $38.1 million set for disaster-incurred costs including debris removal and emergency protective services, such as police and emergency workers overtime, as well as permanent infrastructure repairs.
- Registration Deadlines: The deadline for applying for disaster assistance in the designated counties of Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, and Monroe is Monday, Dec.4th, less than four weeks away. The deadline for applying for Disaster Unemployment Assistance has passed.
- Disaster Recovery Centers: All recovery centers operating in the area will close Friday, Nov. 10th. While operating, the DRCs provided information to more than 7,850 individuals and business owners affected by the severe storms and flooding.
- SBA Workshops are now operating at the sites of the former DRCs to help owners, renters, and local businesses complete low-interest loan applications. Workshop hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday until further notice. Through Saturday, Dec. 2nd, a FEMA disaster-housing specialist will be available at each workshop.
State and federal recovery officials in Florida are also urging residents in flood-prone areas to consider the purchase of flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance program (NFIP). Purchase of NFIP policies, or further information, is usually available through a resident's existing insurance company.
In addition, residents living in areas subject to recurring floods should consider implementing household risk-reduction measures including the elevation of all air-conditioning and hot-water systems, as well as washers and dryers on platforms at least 12 inches above the recent flood levels. Electrical panels and utilities also should be relocated to an area above the flood level.
Applicants may register for assistance programs by calling the toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029. Operators are available between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. 7 days a week. Hearing or speech-impaired persons using special keyboard equipment should call 1-800-462-7585...