Since President George W. Bush declared Floridians eligible for disaster aid beginning with Hurricane Charley on Aug. 13 and continuing through to Hurricane Jeanne on Sept. 26, assistance totaling more than $2.5 billion has been approved for a variety of programs. To date, more than 1.1 million storm victims have applied for federal and state assistance.
A breakdown of the amounts and types of assistance to date are:
* More than $868,218,000 in federal and state disaster assistance for Florida residents in all 67 counties. Of that amount, $414,675,000 is in the form of grants to pay for lodging expenses, rental assistance and minimal home repairs. The balance of $453,543,000 is to cover other needs, which may include such items as repair or replacement of personal property, funeral expenses, and medical and dental costs related to the storm.
* A total of $1,067,000,000 in emergency response and protective measures. These measures include such items as providing food, water and ice, temporary roofs and other emergency services.
* The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $453,700,000 in low-interest loans to repair storm-damaged homes and businesses. Businesses may also be eligible for economic injury loans, which are loans to assist businesses in getting back on their feet following a storm.
* Public Assistance (infrastructure) funds have begun to flow to local governments and certain private, non-profit entities. Currently, $112,000,000 has been approved for project requests found eligible for grant assistance. To date, more than 1,920 requests for aid have been filed.
* FEMA housing inspectors have visited more than 698,000 properties to verify damage losses.
* There are now more than 4,350 manufactured housing units – mobile homes and travel trailers – occupied by storm victims.
* National Flood Insurance Program claims now number 24,214.
* More than 322,000 applicants have been to one of 73 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) that first began operations on Aug. 16 to provide follow-up services and information to applicants for disaster assistance. Presently, 42 DRCs continue to assist applicants throughout the state.
Officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) are urging all homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained damage from one or more of the four hurricanes to apply for help as soon as possible.
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