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Florida Politics: DEO announces $100M in funds to rebuild following Hurricane Irma

The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is announcing a $100 million influx into the Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program to help those affected by Hurricane Irma.

“Gov. [Ron] DeSantis has made it a priority to focus on the resiliency of our state,” said Ken Lawson, DEO’s Executive Director.

“Through the Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program, this additional allocation will not only help municipalities bolster their infrastructure needs, but it will also lead to job creation in Hurricane Irma-impacted communities and strengthen their local economies.”

The deadline to apply for funds through that program will be June 30.

“Local governments may apply individually or as a regional group for funding to propose projects that meet program requirements, including demonstrating Hurricane Irma impact and primarily benefiting low-to-moderate income (LMI) populations,” according to a DEO release on the additional funds.

“Funding can also be used as leverage to match funding for other federal programs.”

After DeSantis took office in 2019, the state has continued to churn out money to communities impacted by Irma, which struck the state in 2017.

In May 2019, DeSantis announced a $40 million loan program to help small businesses still recovering from the storm.

The following month, the state added a $78.1 million pot for recovery efforts in Miami-Dade County. That money came from the Florida Division of Emergency Management.

In late June, the Governor announced another $140 million program to be administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation as part of the state’s Rebuild Florida program.

This past January, the state awarded another $84 million which was also targeted toward local infrastructure projects.

Over Irma’s duration, evacuation orders were issued for areas covering 5.6 million people. It caused at least $50 billion in damage. It was one of the costliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States. According to follow-up reports, more than three quarters of South Floridians lost power due to the storm.

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