Sep 11 2017
Update 9/13 3:05pm
Palm Beach County, Martin County and St. Lucie County have been approved for individual disaster assistance. FEMA can provide housing assistance to individuals and families who have lost their homes or experienced significant damage as a result of Hurricane Irma. If you are a renter or homeowner you may qualify for assistance. By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company, but you may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance.
If you need disaster assistance from FEMA, you can apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or register on the phone at 1-800-621-3362.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has added Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties to the disaster declaration. Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.
For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website.
As I visited hurricane shelters and emergency management headquarters over the weekend, I was struck by the resilience and kindness of neighbors helping friends and complete strangers. I want to offer my sincere thanks to everyone that came together to help get our community through this storm, including our great law enforcement officers and emergency management personnel.
While the full extent of the damage is still being assessed, I want to provide you with resources that may be helpful as our community begins recovery efforts:
- Florida Emergency Management Hotline: 1-800-342-3557
- Text Alerts: Text FLPREPARES to 888777 to receive text alerts from the Florida Department of Emergency Management.
- Online Information: Visit FloridaDisaster.org for more information on recovery efforts.
- Martin County: A 24/7 information line is available at 772-287-1652. You can also visit the Martin County website for more information.
- Palm Beach County: Residents can visit the Palm Beach County website for the latest information on power restoration, school closings and more.
- St. Lucie County: Call 772-460-4357 or visit the St. Lucie County website for the latest information. Residents are urged to call the help line to report flooding and road closures, rather than 9-1-1, unless you are in immediate danger.
Last Friday, Congress approved $15.25 billion in emergency funding to address those impacted by hurricanes. The bill includes $7.4 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Fund, $7.4 billion for Community Development Block grants to be used in the wake of hurricanes and $450 million for the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program. I am urging House leadership to take up another FEMA bill to ensure that our community has the resources we need to address this devastating storm.
Governor Rick Scott has requested, and President Donald Trump has approved, a major disaster declaration for Florida, triggering the immediate release of resources to help communities recover from Irma. All Florida counties were included in the declaration for public assistance, but only residents in Charlotte, Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties are currently eligible for individual disaster assistance. I am doing all I can to secure individual assistance for our communities as well and will provide further updates as progress is made.