Disaster Assistance in Florida Panhandle Nears $50 Million a Month after Storms

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Release date: 
June 5, 2014
Release Number: 
020

PENSACOLA, Fla. – One month after severe storms, tornadoes and flooding hit parts of the Florida Panhandle, almost $50 million in state and federal disaster assistance has been approved as survivors continue to rebuild their homes, businesses and communities.

More than $28.8 million has been approved for Individual Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for qualified homeowners and renters. This includes more than $24.2 million in rental costs and essential home repairs, and nearly $4.6 million to help cover other essential disaster-related needs such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.

Nearly 5,700 survivors and households in five designated counties have been approved for FEMA Individual Assistance following the storms and flooding from April 28 to May 6. The designated counties are Escambia, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton.

The U.S. Small Business Administration, a partner in Florida’s recovery effort, has already approved nearly $20.8 million in low-interest disaster loans for qualified homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations. These loans will finance significant repairs or rebuilding of damaged primary residences and businesses, allowing communities to build back from the storms and flooding.

Public Assistance grants may also be available to reimburse state agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations in four designated counties for eligible costs associated with emergency response, debris removal and repairing or rebuilding damaged public facilities. Public Assistance is a cost-sharing reimbursement program with FEMA paying at least 75 percent. The remainder is the responsibility of the state and local governments. The counties designated for Public Assistance are Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton.

In addition to state and federal disaster assistance programs, survivors have benefitted from a wider array of disaster services and resources, including disaster unemployment assistance, free legal services and disaster-related stress help.

Several voluntary agencies, local community- and faith-based organizations and other nonprofit groups are working with survivors who need extra help and they will continue to assist with their longer-term

needs. These voluntary agencies include the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way, Volunteer Florida, Operation Blessing, Florida Baptists, Santa Rosa Baptist Association, Samaritan’s Purse and Hammers and Hearts.

Below is a snapshot of the assistance dollars and milestones reached in the past month:

 

 

$50 million

To date, almost $50 million in state and federal assistance has been approved to help eligible survivors and their communities.

 

$28.8 million

More than $28.8 million in disaster assistance has been approved under the Individuals and Households Program for qualified homeowners and renters.

 

$24.2 million

The total includes more than $24.2 million for housing assistance, including short-term rental assistance and essential home repair costs.

 

$4.6 million

The total also includes nearly $4.6 million to help cover essential disaster-related needs such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.

 

$20.8 million

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved nearly

$20.8 million in low-interest disaster loans for more than 470 homeowners and business owners throughout the disaster area.

 

12,500

More than 12,500 people have contacted FEMA for help or information following the storms and flooding. Survivors can register for disaster assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Survivors can also call FEMA’s toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.

 

27,800

The American Red Cross has served more than 27,800 meals and snacks to survivors affected by the storms and flooding. Additionally, more than 28,500 items have been handed out – including water, trash bags, bleach, mops, brooms and other supplies.

 

9,500

 

FEMA housing inspectors have completed more than 9,500 home inspections – an important first step in determining eligibility for disaster assistance.

 

4,800

Several crews of FEMA disaster survivor assistance specialists and FEMA Corps members arrived in the affected area just days after the major disaster declaration to provide on-site registration assistance, as well as on-the-spot needs assessments and referrals. Crews met with more than 4,800 survivors and registered 616 individuals and households.

 

4,300

 

 

 

 

More than 4,300 visits have been made to a total of five disaster recovery centers and a temporary registration intake center to get information and apply for disaster assistance. To find the nearest center, survivors can visit FEMA.gov/DRCLocator or call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.

 

1,300

More than 1,300 Floridians have met with FEMA mitigation specialists at disaster recovery centers and home improvement stores for advice and tips on how to rebuild safer and stronger.

 

110

 

More than 110 homeowners and business owners have visited SBA’s business recovery center in Pensacola to get information or receive help applying for low-interest disaster loans.

 

28

So far, 28 requests have been made for FEMA’s Public Assistance program by eligible state agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofits. Requests for public assistance start the process of getting their eligible costs reimbursed, which helps get communities back on track following a disaster.

 

The deadline for Florida survivors to apply for disaster assistance is July 7. Residents who sustained damage from the storms and flooding from April 28 to May 6, can apply for assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov or via smartphone at m.fema.gov. Survivors may also apply by phone at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.

To apply for an SBA low-interest disaster loan, survivors can find the electronic loan application on SBA’s secure website at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Questions can be answered by calling the SBA disaster customer service center at 800-659-2955/(TTY) 800-877-8339 or visiting www.sba.gov.

For more information on Florida disaster recovery, survivors can visit fema.gov/disaster/4177, the Florida Division of Emergency Management website at FloridaDisaster.org or the state’s Facebook page at facebook.com/FloridaSERT.

# # #

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for childcare, medical, dental expenses and/or funeral expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, those who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, transportation, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

Last Updated: 
June 10, 2014 - 17:30
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