PUNTA GORDA, FLORIDA — Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the state of Florida will give up to $25 million to repair homes damaged by Hurricane Ian, following FEMA’s recent denial of the state’s request for emergency funding.
“We're not just gonna sit there and take no for an answer,” DeSantis said at a press conference on Monday. “We want to cut through bureaucracy. We want to bring relief to impacted Floridians regardless of whether FEMA wants to be a part of that.”
According to a press release, materials that may be purchased under the program include:
- Cleaning and sanitizing products
- Concrete and cement products
- Lumber and framing accessories
- Doors and windows
- Electrical products and plumbing materials
- Roofing products required for weatherproofing
- Tools for muck and gut
Additionally, up to $35.2 million from Florida Disaster Fund donations will be used to allow nonprofits to conduct critical temporary repairs on homes damaged by the storm. Donations from the fund will also go towards other needs, such as transportation, food assistance, housing aid, clothing and household goods.
“What’s really neat about the money that’s coming from the $57 million that the goodwill of the people of this state and across the country donated to the Florida Disaster Fund, we’re now able to get $35.2 million out the door from your generosity,” First Lady Casey DeSantis said.
Florida’s first lady praised the Unite Florida portal as a means to “break through the bureaucracy and maximize the dollars coming in.” The portal will funnel $10.2 million from the Florida Disaster Fund to seventeen additional nonprofits.
FEMA DENIES FUNDING REQUEST
On Friday, Thomas J. McCool, FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer and Disaster Recovery Manager, sent a letter notifying Kevin Guthrie, Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) Director, that his request for funding had been denied. On October 29, Guthrie requested FEMA expand Emergency Protective Measures for a Sheltering in Home Recovery Continuation (SHRC) program for a “specific shelter in place mission, using verified volunteer labor to include the purchasing of materials and equipment beyond tarps, plastic sheeting, and furring strips,” according to the letter.
“Due to the limited authorities FEMA has to approve and pay for this type of work, as well as our inability to confirm that authorizing this policy expansion would achieve the intended outcomes for disaster survivors, your request is denied,” McCool wrote.
The governor also touted a “first-of-its-kind state-led housing initiative to provide travel trailers and recreational vehicles to impacted Floridians who may not be eligible for FEMA’s direct housing program.”
“Not only did we think that would be filling a need, but we also think we can do it quicker and more efficiently than FEMA,” DeSantis added.