Six months after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis highlighted the state’s recovery efforts on Thursday during a visit to Fort Myers.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) secured nearly $800 million in Public Assistance obligations, allowing the state to generate nearly $1 billion in federal resiliency funds. This is the most funding FDEM has ever secured in this time frame and the most ever secured for resiliency funding in such a short time following a disaster for any state-managed hurricane response.
In addition, through Florida’s state-led housing program, 504 households have received travel trailers, surpassing the 460 households that received trailers from FEMA.
“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.”
Governor DeSantis awarded more than $7 million from the Florida Disaster Fund to support small businesses in Southwest Florida that were affected by the storm. 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 that were 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 that have been unable to reopen due to lack of capital.
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.
Following Hurricane Ian, Florida undertook a monumental effort to clean debris, restore roadways and bridges, and reconnect power to homes and businesses. Access to Pine Island was restored in less than three days with temporary repairs to the Pine Island bridge, and power was restored to all 2.6 million accounts that were able to safely receive power in under two weeks.
More than 877,000 cubic yards of debris was removed on land, and an additional 491,000 cubic yards of debris was removed from the water. FDEM partnered with local Sheriff and Police departments to utilize sonar technology to identify 5,672 items in the waterways of Charlotte, Collier, and Lee counties, ranging from vessels and vehicles to other debris such as appliances.
The Florida Disaster Fund is the state’s private fund overseen by Volunteer Florida established to provide financial assistance to communities as they respond to and recover from emergencies or disasters. To contribute, please visit www.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.
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