Today, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) announced that it has taken groundbreaking steps to accelerate recovery from Hurricane Ian. By using advanced preparation and deployment of state recovery teams and guaranteeing 100% Category A assistance for 30 days, Florida has paved the way for municipalities to expedite debris removal.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the division is empowered to improve our processes and ensure communities have the resources they need to begin their long-term recovery efforts,” said FDEM director Kevin Guthrie. “Hurricane Ian caused catastrophic damage to Southwest Florida, but we will be with affected communities every step of the way as they begin to recover and build back stronger.”
Prior to Hurricane Ian’s arrival in Southwest Florida, FDEM positioned five teams along the forecasted storm path alongside FEMA partners to immediately begin conducting rapid damage assessments after Hurricane Ian in affected areas. These teams visited counties prior to landfall to better help determine the level of impact after Hurricane Ian.
Typically, counties do their own preliminary post-storm damage assessments, which can take days or even weeks. After that, FEMA will conduct assessments alongside the county to determine public assistance funding.
Through advanced coordination with federal, state, and local partners, FDEM conducted the damage assessment process in a more comprehensive and expedited manner to ensure counties can quickly receive needed FEMA public assistance funding. to begin the long-term recovery process. To date, these teams have conducted assessments in 29 counties, including Collier, Charlotte and Lee counties.
On September 28, Governor DeSantis asked a major disaster declaration for all 67 counties, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, and the Seminole Tribe of Florida to ensure FDEM can move quickly into response and recovery following the landfall of Hurricane Ian. The Declaration makes federal funding available to state, local, and tribal governments and eligible nonprofit organizations in affected areas for debris removal and emergency protective measures on a cost-sharing basis. costs. Typically, this request is not made until disaster assessments have been made after the storm. The letter with this request can be found here.
Currently, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia counties are also eligible for individual assistance from the FEMA, which may include temporary housing assistance, basic home repairs, and certain other uninsured disaster-related needs. Florida survivors who live in these counties can seek help online by to visit www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
On September 24, the Small Business Administration approved Home Disaster Loans, Physical Disaster Loans for Businesses, and Economic Disaster Loans for businesses, homeowners, renters and non-profit organizations. nonprofit in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and Seminole counties. Economic injury loans are available in Brevard, Broward, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Pasco, Sumter, and Volusia counties. Residents can apply for loans here.
Mental health resources are also available for survivors in emotional distress. FDEM maintains a list of resources available to disaster survivors and first responders here. Individuals can call or text Disaster Hotline at 800-985-5990 for free crisis counseling.