Florida Hurricane Recovery Moves into New Season

June 6, 2005

As Floridians face the start of a new hurricane season, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the agencies united under the State Emergency Response Team have moved into a long-term recovery mode and continue working on the aftermath of 2004’s storms.

Federal disaster assistance to Florida to date totals more than $5.3 billion.

Nearly $1.2 billion of that has gone to state agencies and local governments as grants to reimburse eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures and other community infrastructure repairs and replacement.

Funding continues to be approved on a daily basis and 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 has disbursed nearly $1.2 billion in grants to individuals for rental assistance, minimal home repair and other disaster-related needs. More than 1.2 million people applied for federal and state assistance through FEMA’s registration system.

More than 120 FEMA housing advisors are actively working to help Floridians still living in 10,259 FEMA-provided mobile homes and travel trailers find permanent solutions.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved more than $1.7 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.

Individuals with questions about their application status or general disaster inquiries may call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Hearing- and speech-impaired applicants can use the TTY number 1-800-462-7585. Both lines remain open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

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