The state of Florida will provide $25 million in housing assistance to victims of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced Monday, a week after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied the state’s request.
The money will help Floridians rebuild their homes by providing building materials, travel trailers, and recreational vehicles for Floridians who do not qualify for FEMA’s direct housing program.
“Unfortunately, we got word last week that FEMA had denied our request for funding our state-led housing initiative, citing their ‘limited authority,’” DeSantis said in a press conference. “We’re not just going to sit there and take no for an answer, and we’re going to figure out what we can do. We want to cut through bureaucracy. We want to bring relief to impacted Floridians regardless of whether FEMA wants to be a part of that.”
Two weeks ago, Florida launched an online portal for residents to apply for the state housing program and also record other needs such as food assistance and transportation. More than 2,000 residents have applied for the assistance, with 1,500 of them applying for housing, according to DeSantis.
An additional $35 million that was raised from private donations through Florida first lady Casey DeSantis’s Florida Disaster Fund will also help Floridians rebuild their homes and fill other unmet needs identified through the online portal. The disaster fund opened shortly before Ian made landfall in September.
“It is not a matter of if people will get back on their feet, it’s when, which is why uniting communities to reduce red tape and break down bureaucracy to provide relief to Floridians is so important,” Casey DeSantis said. “The generous donations to the Florida Disaster Fund will go to organizations that are on the ground helping impacted residents recover. We are appreciative of the continued and overwhelming support.”
Ian tied for the fifth strongest hurricane to make landfall in the United States. Its wind gusts topped 150 mph when it made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm killed at least 130 people in 19 counties across Florida and caused billions of dollars in damage.