PENSACOLA, Fla. – Sixty days after a violent storm system brought massive flooding to Northwest Florida, $66.5 million in disaster assistance has been approved to help homeowners, renters and business owners recover.
Residents affected by the storms and flooding from April 28 to May 6 in Escambia, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties have until Monday, July 21, to register for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
More than 14,200 survivors have been in touch with FEMA seeking help or information on disaster assistance following what local officials called the worst flood in this part of the state in decades.
Since the May 6 disaster declaration, more than $32.1 million in Individual Assistance has helped more than 6,600 homeowners and renters who were affected by the spring storms and flooding. This includes more than $26.6 million in rental expenses and essential home repairs, and nearly $5.5 million to help cover other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $34.4 million in low-interest disaster loans for qualified homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations.
The Public Assistance cost-share program may also be available to reimburse state agencies, local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations. These reimbursements can help pay for debris cleanup, repairs to damaged facilities and infrastructure, and for costs incurred in protecting lives and property during the floods. The program also provides mitigation funds to help rebuild infrastructure that is better able to withstand future storms.
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, disaster-related stress help and guidance on flood insurance.
FEMA is continuing to work with state and local partners to connect survivors to recovery resources in their communities. Survivors who need extra help are encouraged to call Florida’s 2-1-1 information helpline or visit HelpNWFLrecover.org.
Several voluntary agencies, local community- and faith-based organizations and other nonprofit groups are working with survivors to help them tackle their longer term needs. Among these voluntary agencies are the American Red Cross, United Way, Volunteer Florida, Operation Blessing, Florida Baptists and Samaritan’s Purse.
Below is a snapshot of the assistance dollars and some milestones reached in the past sixty days:
To date, $66.5 million in state and federal assistance has been approved to help eligible Floridians and their communities.
More than $32.1 million in disaster assistance has been approved for homeowners and renters under the Individual Assistance Program.
The IA total includes more than $26.6 million for housing assistance, including short-term rental assistance and essential home repair costs.
The IA total also includes nearly $5.5 million to help cover other essential disaster-related needs such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved more than $34.4 million in low-interest disaster loans for more than 820 homeowners and businesses throughout the disaster area.
The five counties designated for Individual Assistance are Escambia, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton.
More than 14,200 people have contacted FEMA for information or assistance following the storms and flooding. To register for disaster assistance by the July 21 deadline, go to DisasterAssistance.gov or m.fema.gov on your smartphone. Survivors can also call FEMA’s toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.
FEMA housing inspectors have completed more than 11,100 home inspections – an important step in determining eligibility for housing assistance.
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 7,000 survivors and registered 815 individuals and households.
Approximately 5,880 visits were made to five disaster recovery centers and a temporary registration intake center to get information and apply for disaster assistance.
More than 3,300 people 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.
62 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 eligible costs reimbursed, which helps get communities back on track following a disaster.
The nine counties designated for Public Assistance are Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington.
The deadline to apply for disaster assistance is July 21. Florida disaster survivors can apply for assistance online at DisasterAssistance.gov or at m.fema.gov/ on a smartphone. Survivors may also apply by phone at 800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585.
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.
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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.