ORLANDO, Fla. -- Federal assistance for Floridians rises steadily as individuals in the Sunshine State recover from damages caused by the 2004 hurricanes. The four disasters resulted in more than 1.247 million storm victims applying for federal and state aid, and federal officials continue to review grant requests to reimburse local agencies for recovery projects under way.
Through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a total of $1.174 billion has been approved in Individuals and Households Program assistance funds. Of that amount, $555 million covers grants to pay for lodging expenses, rental assistance and minimal home repairs. Another $618 million covers assistance for other needs, which include repair or replacement of personal property, funeral expenses, and medical and dental costs related to the hurricanes.
FEMA's Public Assistance (infrastructure) program, to date, has obligated more than $759 million in supplemental federal disaster grants to local governments to repair, restore, and rebuild publicly owned facilities in counties the President declared a disaster. An additional $166 million obligated to the state brings the total to $925 million. For the 2004 hurricanes, the federal government is reimbursing 90 percent of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration. State and local governments pay the remaining 10 percent.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has authorized more than $1.69 billion in low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and businesses.
In the early days after the disaster, FEMA approved some $1.197 billion for ice, generators, water and other immediate needs.
Displaced hurricane victims currently occupy more than 11,000 manufactured housing units - mobile homes and travel homes - on private property or in FEMA-created or leased short-term housing sites. Since the onset of the disasters, FEMA and the state of Florida have provided more than 16,000 units for individuals with no other housing alternative.
Some 586,024 disaster applicants have visited one of the 92 mobile and fixed-site Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) that were set up to assist victims with application and federal disaster aid program questions. Presently, nine fixed DRCs continue to assist applicants throughout the state.
Applicants with questions about their application status or general disaster inquiries may call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing- and speech-impaired. The lines operate Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time.
Attached is a county-by-county breakdown of individual disaster assistance provided to Floridians.
The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) is a collaboration of Florida's state agencies led by the state coordinating officer. SERT's mission is to ensure that Florida is prepared to respond to emergencies, recover from them, and mitigate their impacts. Visit www.floridadisaster.org for the latest information on the hurricane relief efforts.
FEMA prepares the nation for all hazards and manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, trains first responders, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.