Disaster Aid Flows to Florida Residents

January 27, 2005

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to date has obligated more than $357 million to reimburse local governments and private, non-profit entities for cleanup and infrastructure repair and rebuilding following the four hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004. Of that amount, the State of Florida has processed 60 percent for eligible work requested or begun, officials say.

Local governments provided emergency services and immediately began removing debris and repairing damaged public facilities following Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. FEMA’s public assistance (infrastructure) program provides supplemental federal disaster grant assistance to make repairs, restore and rebuild publicly owned facilities in counties declared major disasters. For the hurricanes, the federal government is reimbursing 90 percent of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration. State and local governments will pay the remaining 10 percent.

A breakdown of the amounts and types of disaster assistance to Floridians for the 2004 hurricanes is as follows:

* Total approved assistance for individuals who suffered damages has surpassed $3.85 billion.
* To date, 1.22 million storm victims have applied for federal and state assistance.
* A total of $1.106 billion in federal and state disaster assistance grants has been approved for Florida residents in all 67 counties. Of that amount, $521.7 million has been approved to pay for lodging expenses, rental assistance and minimal home repairs. The balance of $584.4 million covers 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.
* Storm victims occupy more than 14,700 manufactured housing units – mobile homes and travel homes – in FEMA created or leased short-term housing sites.
* National Flood Insurance Program claims received total 26,956.
* The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved nearly $1.23 billion 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.
* More than $1.16 billion was paid for emergency response and protective measures.
* More than $9.2 million has been disbursed in Disaster Unemployment Assistance benefits.
* Some 522,487 applicants have been to one of the 92 mobile and fixed site Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). Presently, 37 DRCs continue to assist applicants throughout the state.

Officials urge all homeowners, renters and business owners who sustained hurricane damage to apply for federal and state disaster assistance. Floridians have until Feb. 28, 2005, to apply for assistance.

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