Florida Hurricane Recovery from 2004 Tops $5.2 Billion

While Floridians mark the unofficial start of the summer season with Memorial Day weekend, funding continues to flow into the state for recovery from the four 2004 hurricanes.

To date, Florida has received more than $5.2 billion in federal disaster assistance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported.

Of that, FEMA has approved more than $1.1 billion to reimburse state and local governments for eligible costs associated with response and recovery after last year’s historic series of hurricanes. The figure will continue to rise as Public Assistance applicants finish the documentation process and request reimbursement for debris removal, emergency work, and payment to finish permanent infrastructure repair and replacement.

Local officials can track the progress of their Public Assistance grant applications – called Project Worksheets – online at www.floridapa.org. After FEMA approves funding, the state requires applicants to submit a “request for reimbursement or advance” along with their documentation to start the payment process.

Under the presidential disaster declarations for Florida’s 2004 hurricanes, FEMA will pay 90 percent of the eligible cost for emergency measures and permanent restoration, while the state and local entities pay the remaining 10 percent. The state manages the grants for all projects.

FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program has paid $1.2 billion to Floridians who were eligible for Housing and Other Needs Assistance. More than 1.2 million people applied for federal and state assistance through FEMA’s registration system.

As families find permanent housing appropriate to their needs, they are moving out of FEMA-provided temporary housing. Families now live in 10,600 mobile homes and travel trailers, down from a peak of more than 16,000 units. More than 120 FEMA housing advisors are actively working to help these families find permanent solutions.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved nearly $1.8 billion in low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters and business owners in Florida who suffered uninsured or underinsured losses as a result of the disasters. Floridians with questions about SBA loans can call 1-800-359-2227.

The federal response to the disasters included an additional $1.2 billion for contracted goods and services needed at the time of the hurricanes.