10 months, $1.3 billion later: Recovering from Hurricane Michael

Published: Aug. 21, 2019 at 11:24 AM CDT
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Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle 10 months ago. Since then, FEMA says nearly $238 million in grants from the Public Assistance Program have helped state and local governments with debris removal, protective measure cots, and other projects.

These grants are part of the $1.3 billion in federal aid that has come to our area. A break down of the numbers looks like this:

• The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved a total of 11,485 loans for homeowners and renters and some 1,200 loans for Panhandle businesses, providing nearly $641.5 million for rebuilding.

• More than 4,262 National Flood Insurance claims have been received from flood insurance policyholders for Hurricane Michael flooding. Ninety-nine percent of these claims have closed for a total payout of $219.1 million.

FEMA's Public Assistance Program helps state, county, and local governments, as well as some private nonprofit organizations. Some of that money includes:

o $18.5 million to Bay County the costs of debris removal

o Nearly $3.3 million to Christ Church of Panama City to replace its destroyed facility, facility contents and equipment

o $24 million to West Florida Electric Cooperative Association for debris clearance along right of way and providing temporary power restoration for counties and municipalities

o $11.2 million to the State Department of Transportation for emergency protective measures

o $22.5 million to School Board of Bay County for providing temporary emergency repairs and temporary daycare centers, as well as mold and water remediation and security.

As of August 12, 2019, federal disaster assistance included:

• $147.9 million in grants awarded to more than 42,154 homeowners and renters in the 12 counties designated for Individual Assistance. The grants help pay for uninsured or under-insured losses or damage not covered by insurance or other sources. That amount includes:

o $120.8 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.

o $27.1 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.

• FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program for Hurricane Michael began Oct. 23, 2018 and came to a close June 8, 2019. During this period, FEMA and the State of Florida provided more than 2,000 households lodging at no cost while they secured permanent housing solutions. The cost to provide this assistance was $16.5 million.

• Currently, more than 220 survivor households have found permanent housing solutions and vacated the temporary housing units in which they had been living.

o 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.

o A total of 971 households were licensed in to mobile homes, trailers or leased housing at private sites, commercial parks and seven emergency group sites.

• Local governments and state agencies have reported removal of nearly 33 million cubic yards of debris.

• 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. FEMA Voluntary Agency Liaisons and Volunteer Florida continue to provide support for seven Long-term Recovery Groups that have formed in the Panhandle to address long-term recovery needs.