FORT MYERS, FLORIDA — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis visited Fort Myers to highlight recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian. In the six months since Hurricane Ian made landfall, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has secured nearly $800 million in Public Assistance obligations in a short amount of time, giving the state nearly $1 billion in federal resiliency funds.
INDIVIDUAL AND SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
Through Florida’s state-led housing program, 504 households have received travel trailers, outpacing FEMA’s 460 households that received trailers. Additionally, the governor awarded more than $7 million from the Florida Disaster Fund to support small businesses in Southwest Florida that were affected by the storm.
“When Hurricane Ian made landfall, we made a promise that we would be there for impacted Floridians every step of the way through the recovery process,” said Governor DeSantis. “After the cameras left and the dust settled, we continued to stand up programs where the federal government dragged its feet and we continued to find ways to support Floridians whose needs did not fit into a specific government program. We are glad to be adding to these efforts with today’s announcements.”
The governor also announced two awards through the Florida Disaster Fund totaling $7 million to support small businesses. The first award of $3 million will go to the nonprofit arm of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to expand their ability to provide economic relief to hospitality-based businesses impacted by the storm. The second award of $4 million will create a new Small Business Recovery Impact program to support additional small businesses outside of the hospitality sector.
“The Division remains committed to seeing Southwest Florida through the recovery process and making this community whole again,” said Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie. “Governor Ron DeSantis continues to lead the way and empower the Division to cut through unnecessary red tape and bureaucracy.”
Following Hurricane Ian, a monumental effort was undertaken to clean debris, restore roadways and bridges, and to reconnect power to homes and businesses.
Temporary repairs to the Pine Island bridge allowed access to Pine Island to be restored in less than three days.
The governor gave an update on permanent repair progress to the Pine Island bridge and Sanibel Causeway. The Pine Island bridge repairs are expected to be completed by fall of 2023 and are estimated to cost $25 million when completed. Permanent repairs to the Sanibel Causeway will be complete by the end of this year and are estimated to cost a total of $350 million when complete.
DONATIONS STILL ACCEPTED
The Florida Disaster Fund is the state’s private fund overseen by Volunteer Florida established to provide financial assistance to local communities. In partnership with public, private, and other non-governmental organizations, the Florida Disaster Fund supports response and recovery activities. To contribute, please visit FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.
Donations to the Florida Disaster Fund are made to the Volunteer Florida Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are tax-deductible.