Tallahassee Democrat: Nine months after Michael, housing mission continues as FEMA aid reaches $1.3B
Nine months after Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle, 175 survivor households have found a permanent housing solution and vacated the temporary housing units in which they had been living.
These travel trailers and mobile homes were part of the direct housing mission the State of Florida and FEMA launched within the first month of the Oct. 10, 2018 storm in five devastated counties with scarce housing options and rental resources.
A total of 971 eligible households have been provided temporary housing in mobile homes, trailers or leased housing at private sites, commercial parks and seven emergency group sites.
FEMA continues to work with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), and other state, federal and local partners to assist the storm-ravaged communities as they recover from the Category 5 hurricane.
As of July 10, the federal disaster assistance includes:
• $146.8 million in grants awarded to more than 42,129 homeowners and renters in the 12 counties designated for Individual Assistance. The grants help pay for uninsured or under-insured losses or damage from Hurricane Michael not covered by insurance or other sources. That amount includes:
• $119.7 million in housing grants to help pay for home repair, home replacement, or rental assistance to be used to rent a temporary place to live.
• $27 million in Other Needs Assistance grants to help pay for personal property replacement and other serious disaster-related needs—such as moving and storage fees or medical and dental expenses.
• Nearly eight months after the storm displaced thousands of Panhandle residents, FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program for Hurricane Michael came to a close June 8 after:
• Totaling $16.5 million in assistance
• Providing more than 2,000 households lodging at no cost while they secured permanent housing solutions
• The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved a total of 11,473 loans for homeowners and renters and some 1,200 loans for Panhandle businesses, providing nearly $641 million for rebuilding. SBA disaster loans are the largest federal source of rebuilding funds for homeowners following a disaster.
• More than 4,261 National Flood Insurance claims have been received. More than 3,900 claims have closed for a total payout of $217.4 million.
• More than $227.2 million in Public Assistance grants have been obligated by FEMA to reimburse the State of Florida and local governments for debris removal, emergency protective measure costs and other projects. Once obligated by FEMA, FDEM works closely with applicants to finalize the grants and begin making payments. In January 2019, FDEM implemented new procedures designed to accelerate grant funding to local communities.
• Local governments and state agencies have reported removal of nearly 33 million cubic yards of debris.
• FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaisons and Volunteer Florida continue to provide support for six Long-term Recovery Groups that have formed in the Panhandle to address long-term recovery needs. All efforts to restore and rebuild the hardest-hit areas include projects focused on the “whole community” approach – with state and federal agencies joining with community leaders, faith-based partners and others.
• Since the early stages of the recovery, a coalition of state and federal partners has focused on working with large and small business initially disrupted by Michael. State and FEMA Private Sector specialists have used the State of Florida’s Business Damage Assessment Survey database and contacts with local chambers of commerce to reach several thousand small business owners and connect them with federal and state resources to help them keep operating.
For more on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Michael, visit FloridaDisaster.org and FEMA.gov/disaster/4399.