Preparedness & Recovery

Florida to Get $615M in Federal Relief for Irma

The majority of Florida counties are likely to receive at least some of the Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

by Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel / November 29, 2017
An American flag is torn as Hurricane Irma passes through Naples, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. AP/David Goldman

(TNS) - The federal government on Tuesday awarded $615.9 million in aid to areas of Florida hard hit by Hurricane Irma.

With the money earmarked for housing, business losses plus damaged roads, bridges and sidewalks, the funds could disappear quickly once the state Department of Economic Opportunity starts to distribute them.

“We must continue to work to ensure everyone impacted by this storm can fully recover,” said Governor Rick Scott.

The majority of Florida counties are likely to be on the receiving end of at least some of the Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. FEMA designated 48 of Florida’s 63 counties for individual assistance, including Orange, Osceola, Lake, Seminole, Volusia and Polk. The Florida Keys suffered the greatest damage, records show.

Florida’s Irma victims will share $7.4 billion in the disaster grant funds with Texans flooded by Hurricane Harvey, Puerto Rico residents impacted by Hurricane Maria and Western property owners affected by wildfires during the last year.

In coming up with a total for Florida, federal housing and disaster groups looked seriously damaged houses and other needs.The money is aimed expenses unmet by private insurance and federal grants. It can go toward constructing new housing and helping restore businesses.

“HUD’s analysis found thousands of middle- and lower income homeowners and renters experienced serious damage to their residences and were not adequately insured for flood damage,” according to a spokesman.

mshanklin@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5538

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