As Florida and the Gulf Coast states dry out from Arlene, this year’s first named storm, and look back 10 months after Hurricane Charley, the long-term recovery continues for the unprecedented four hurricanes of 2004 that impacted Florida.
Federal disaster assistance to Florida to date totals more than $5.3 billion, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported, in releasing county-by-county data for its Individual Assistance and Public Assistance programs.
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.
Public Assistance funding continues to be approved on a daily basis and local officials can track the progress of their 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.
To date, in addition to the $1.2 billion for public assistance to Florida, 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 by telephone and online.
Floridians still occupy 9,997 FEMA-provided mobile homes and travel trailers, while more than 120 FEMA housing advisors work to help them find permanent housing 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 four storms that impacted Florida in 2004 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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