TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In just over a month after Hurricane Michael slammed Northwest Florida Oct. 10 with 155 mph winds tearing a wide swath of destruction, survivors and business owners have begun the recovery process by helping one another get back on their feet to rebuild their communities.
"We are encouraged by the amazing resilience of the families and communities impacted by Hurricane Michael and are committed to ensuring that they receive the resources they need to recover as quickly as possible," said Wes Maul, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management.
"Even with careful preparation, the emergency response teams faced extraordinary circumstances before we could bring disaster relief following Michael’s landfall," said Thomas J. McCool, the federal coordinating officer for Hurricane Michael recovery.
"Major highway routes were blocked, storm surge wiped out whole city blocks, but within five days of landfall working with the state we had 214 staff on the ground reaching out to affected communities. Within 30 days, more than $300 million in federal disaster funds have been approved for disaster survivors in Florida."
Florida Recovery: By the numbers
As of Nov. 9, FEMA has approved nearly 25,000 applications totaling more than $100.2 million in assistance, including more than $82.4 million in housing assistance and more than $17.8 million in other needs assistance such as medical bills, moving and storage expenses and personal property losses. Disaster assistance is not a substitute for an insurance payout and may not make survivors whole but is designed to help survivors start on their road to recovery.
The National Flood Insurance Program has paid out more than $43.8 million to policyholders.
Homeowners, renters and businesses have been approved for more than $157.2 million in low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration to repair, rebuild and replace damaged property and contents. Disaster loans, the largest source of federal help after disasters, cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources.
FEMA inspectors have completed nearly 62,000 home inspections as part of the process of determining whether applicants are eligible for assistance.
More than 21,000 Florida homeowners and renters have received housing assistance including grants for repairs to make their homes habitable while permanent repairs are made.
Nearly 17,000 homeowners and renters have received financial rental assistance.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has installed more than 4,000 temporary roofs through its Blue Roof Program.
More than 900 families are currently staying at hotels and motels through the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program on a short-term basis until they can return home or secure other longer-term housing. This program is available in Bay, Gulf and Jackson counties.
In areas where rental resources and housing are limited, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and FEMA are working closely to implement a targeted strategy to provide alternate forms of temporary housing to best meet the individual needs of displaced families.
Providing face-to-face help
FEMA’s Disaster Survivor Assistance teams have conducted 787 community visits and 35,880 home visits. Team members can answer questions about disaster assistance, register survivors, and make referrals to whole community partners that can best match their needs. All FEMA employees and contractors carry an official government or contractor badge to identify themselves. To guard against fraud, survivors should ask to see a badge.
Nearly 13,000 disaster survivors have received one-on-one support at joint state-FEMA disaster recovery centers. Survivors who need to meet with FEMA or other recovery agencies should visit a disaster recovery center. There are 13 disaster recovery centers in the Panhandle. You can find them by using the FEMA mobile app, by visiting www.FEMA.gov/DRC online or by texting "DRC" and your zip code to 43362.
Dec. 10 is the deadline for individuals and households to apply for disaster assistance.
Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 for TTY users.
Federal funding is available to reimburse communities and the state for costs incurred for disaster cleanup, emergency actions taken to protect lives or property and the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged infrastructure. Under the Presidential disaster declaration, 10 counties are eligible for FEMA’s Public Assistance program for emergency measures and debris removal and six counties are eligible for emergency measures, debris removal and permanent work for damaged public infrastructure.
Houses of Worship eligible for Public Assistance
To help with certain disaster-related costs, private nonprofits, including houses of worship, may be eligible to apply for funding through the Public Assistance grant program. To be eligible, a house of worship must have
Federal disaster assistance for Hurricane Michael in Florida tops $300 million – page 3
damage or costs caused directly by Hurricane Michael. The house of worship will need to provide documentation on the facilities that were damaged by Hurricane Michael.
The deadline to request Public Assistance is December 14.
The federal government covers 75 percent of the cost of PA grants. Applicants are responsible for the remaining 25 percent. For Hurricane Michael, the President authorized a 100 percent federal cost share for debris removal and emergency protective measures for a five-day period, as chosen by the state of Florida. Communities, counties and others may register/login at FloridaPA.org.
For more information about the disaster recovery operation, visit the Florida Division of Emergency Management at FloridaDisaster.org or FEMA.gov/disaster/4399.
FEMA’s mission: Helping people before, during, and after disasters.
For a list of resources available to individuals and businesses affected by Hurricane Michael, visit www.floridadisaster.org/info
For more Hurricane Michael recovery information, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4399.
Follow FEMA and the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter at @FEMARegion4 and @FLSERT. You may also visit FEMA and the Division’s Facebook pages at Facebook.com/FEMA and Facebook.com/FloridaSERT.