Hurricane Irma Recovery Resources
On Sunday, September 10th, President Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Florida, allowing federal dollars to help individuals and communities to recover from Hurricane Irma. I’ve provided information below on some of the federal assistance programs available to eligible communities and individuals in the wake of a natural disaster.
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Assistance
- Visit www.disasterassistance.gov to learn more and apply for assistance programs, including the Individual and Households Program (IHP), or call 1-800-621-3362.
- If you are eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance, FEMA will pay for the cost to stay in certain hotels or motels for a limited period of time. Costs covered are for the cost of the room and taxes, and any other expenses are not included. Click here to search for participating hotels in your area, and call the hotel prior to traveling, as availability is constantly changing.
- A number of shelters in Florida continue to operate to assist those who cannot return to their homes. To find an open shelter, please visit the American Red Cross website by clicking here.
- Was your roof damaged as a result of Hurricane Irma? You may be eligible for a fiber-reinforced plastic sheeting ("blue tarp") through FEMA's Operation Blue Roof. This can help protect your home until you are able to make repairs.
- Homeowners must sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form to allow government employees and contractors onto their property to asses damage and install the temporary covering. ROE collection centers will be set up by the Army Corps.
- Currently, all ROE centers have completed their service.
- Click here for more information or call 1-888-ROOF-BLU (1-888-766-3258)
Assistance to Individuals and Households
The Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides financial help or direct services to those who have necessary expenses and serious needs if they are unable to meet the needs through other means. Up to $33,300 is available in financial help (adjusted each year), although some forms of IHP assistance have limits. Flood insurance may be required as indicated below.
These forms of help are available: Housing Assistance (including Temporary Housing, Repair,
Replacement, and Semi-Permanent or Permanent Housing Construction) and Other Needs Assistance (including personal property and other items).
Temporary Housing: Money to rent a different place to live or a temporary housing unit (when rental properties are not available).
Repair: Money for homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance. The goal is to repair the home to a safe and sanitary living or functioning condition.
FEMA may provide up to $33,300 for home repair; then the homeowner may apply for a Small Business Administration disaster loan for additional repair assistance. FEMA will not pay to return a home to its condition before the disaster. Flood insurance may be required if the home is in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Repair and replacement items include:
- Structural parts of a home (foundation, outside walls, roof)
- Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinetry
- Septic or sewage system
- Well or other water system
- Heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system
- Utilities (electrical, plumbing, and gas systems)
- Entrance and exit ways from the home, including privately owned access roads
- Blocking, leveling and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical and fuel lines and tanks
Replacement: Money to replace a disaster-damaged home, under rare conditions, if this can be done with limited funds. FEMA may provide up to $33,300 for home replacement. If the home is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, the homeowner must comply with flood insurance purchase requirements and local flood codes and requirements.
Semi-Permanent or Permanent Housing Construction: Direct assistance or money for the construction of a home. This type of assistance occurs only in very unusual situations, in locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
Construction shall follow current minimal local building codes and standards where they exist, or minimal acceptable construction industry standards in the area. Construction will aim toward average quality, size, and capacity, taking into consideration the needs of the occupant. If the home is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, the homeowner must comply with flood insurance purchase requirements and local flood codes and requirements.
Other Needs Assistance: Other Needs Assistance provision of the Individuals and Households Program provides grants for uninsured, disaster-related necessary expenses and serious needs. Flood insurance may be required on insurable items (personal property) if they are to be located in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Assistance includes:
- Medical and dental expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Repair, cleaning, or replacement of:
- Household items (room furnishings, appliances)
- Specialized tools or protective clothing and equipment required for your job
- Necessary educational materials (computers, school books, supplies)
- Clean-up items (wet/dry vacuum, air purifier, dehumidifier)
- Fuel (fuel, chain saw, firewood)
- Repairing or replacing vehicles damaged by the disaster, or providing for public transportation or other transportation costs
- Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster (including evacuation, storage, or the return of property to a home)
- Other necessary expenses or serious needs (for example, towing, or setup or connecting essential utilities for a housing unit not provided by FEMA)
- The cost of a National Flood Insurance Program group flood insurance policy to meet the flood insurance requirements
Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance
Are you a small business owner? Click here to visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Center and learn about the type of aid you may be eligible for. You may also call 1-800-659-2955.
- Florida counties eligible for SBA disaster loans:
- Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Desoto, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Saint Johns, Saint Lucie, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia in Florida are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA.
- The following contiguous Florida counties are eligible for Economic Injury Loans only: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Levy and Nassau.
Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses and residents as a result of disaster declarations. Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application on the SBA’s website by clicking here or calling 1 (800) 659-2955. The SBA has also provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions that can be accessed by clicking here.
Post-Storm Recovery Tips from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has created helpful guides and tip sheets to help homeowners and renters. These guides are designed to help ensure the proper clean-up and restoration of a home after a disaster. Click the titles below to access the guides.
Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Clean-Up After Disasters
Guía del propietario y arrendatario para la limpieza de moho después de desastres
Getting Back to a Healthy Home: Consumer Tips for Post-Disaster Home Restoration
Rebuild Healthy Homes: Guide to Post-Disaster Restoration for a Safe and Healthy Home