- Deadline Approaching: Florida residents in Idalia-impacted counties urged to apply for FEMA aid by Nov. 29.
- FEMA Grants, Small Business Administration loans, and Flood Insurance Program payments are still flowing.
- FEMA says it has assisted nearly 35,000 impacted households so far.
Florida residents in select counties affected by Hurricane Idalia have just one month left to apply for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). State emergency managers are urging those residing in Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Suwannee, and Taylor counties to reach out for potential aid. The financial help available encompasses temporary lodging, basic home repairs, personal property losses, and other uninsured disaster-related expenses.
Residents interested in seeking FEMA assistance must do so before the Nov. 29, 2023, deadline. The agency has offered multiple avenues for application, including a toll-free phone line at 800-621-3362, available daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. Additionally, potential applicants can access assistance online via DisasterAssistance.gov, the FEMA mobile app, or in person at a Disaster Recovery Center. Assistance is provided in multiple languages to cater to a diverse range of residents.
In a recent data release, state officials highlighted the financial efforts already in place. FEMA has provided $72.7 million in grants to 34,690 households. Moreover, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved disaster loans amounting to $63.9 million. The National Flood Insurance Program has processed payments of $195 million, with 5,100 claims filed thus far.
Adding to its commitment to Florida’s recovery, FEMA announced local hiring initiatives for Gainesville and Lake Mary locations. These positions offer full-time employment for up to 120 days, with potential extensions based on operational requirements. Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens, 18 years of age or older, and hold a high school diploma or GED.
The latest report from Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) shows insured losses from Hurricane Idalia nearing $300 million. Since the Category 3 storm made landfall on Aug. 30 near Keaton Beach in Taylor County, 24,250 claims have been filed, totaling $287.8 million. Residential properties, especially homeowners and mobile homeowners, have been the most affected. However, the figures, while staggering, remain below the multi-billion dollar estimates predicted by industry experts.
Hurricane Idalia predominantly affected less populated areas but left a trail of destruction in smaller communities like Perry and Cedar Key. The devastation ranged from residential roof losses to extensive commercial structure damages, with coastal regions experiencing significant storm surge impacts.
As the state continues its recovery efforts, and with many claims still open, the final economic repercussions of Hurricane Idalia remain to be fully understood. Florida’s resilience and collective effort are evident as communities come together, and state and federal agencies collaborate to rebuild and recover.