On the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma’s landfall, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and Rebuild Florida today are marking Hurricane Irma recovery milestones as well as the remaining work ahead. In September of 2018, DEO launched Rebuild Florida with federal funding to assist Florida’s long-term recovery from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma. The first Rebuild Florida recovery program launched, the Rebuild Florida Housing Repair and Replacement Program, will help thousands of Floridians repair, rebuild or replace their Hurricane Irma damaged homes.
“Since the Governor’s first day in office, he has charged our agency to help Floridians rebuild their lives after disasters as quickly as possible,” said Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “Today, on the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma, we remain committed to helping Floridians and our communities fully recover.”
More than a year after Hurricane Irma’s landfall, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released more than $700 million in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to DEO to assist with long-term recovery from Hurricane Irma. CDBG-DR funding is designed to address long-term recovery needs after other assistance has been exhausted, including federal disaster recovery programs and private insurance. Working with impacted communities around the state, DEO developed an action plan to guide how this funding will assist Florida’s families, businesses and communities still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
A summary of DEO’s Rebuild Florida programs that have been launched to assist residents and community recover from Hurricane Irma is below:
- Housing Repair and Replacement Program ($346,186,147)
- The Rebuild Florida Housing Repair and Replacement Program is helping eligible homeowners impacted by Hurricane Irma to repair, rebuild or replace their damaged homes across the hardest-hit communities. To date, more than 15,000 Floridians from more than 50 counties have registered for assistance. Registration remains open to impacted homeowners. In May, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the completion of Rebuild Florida’s first repair of a Hurricane Irma damaged home in Palm Bay in Brevard County.
- Affordable Workforce Housing Construction Program ($140,000,000)
- In June, Governor DeSantis announced the launch of the Rebuild Florida Affordable Workforce Housing Construction Program. This program is a partnership with the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) and DEO. Florida Housing is currently soliciting applications from local governments and developers to construct new affordable workforce housing across areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- Voluntary Home Buyout Program ($75,000,000)
- The Rebuild Florida Voluntary Home Buyout Program was launched to encourage risk reduction through the purchase of residential property in high flood-risk areas to help reduce the impact of future disasters. Local governments that are within the federal and state designated Most Impacted and Distressed (MID) areas are eligible to apply for funding until the October 1, 2019 deadline.
- Infrastructure Repair Program ($85,819,653)
- The Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program was launched with $85,819,653 to fund infrastructure restoration and improvement projects in communities impacted by Hurricane Irma. Local governments that are within the federal and state designated Most Impacted and Distressed (MID) areas were eligible to apply for funding until the October 31, 2019, deadline.
Additionally, DEO has leveraged U.S. Economic Development Administration funding to open a $40 million Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund to assist businesses still recovering from Hurricane Irma with up to up to $500,000 in financing.
Two additional CDBG-DR funded programs to help the long-term recovery of businesses and workers impacted by Hurricane Irma are currently under development:
- Workforce Recovery Training ($20,000,000)
- Business Recovery Grant Program ($66,000,000)
More information about these programs can be found in the State Action Plan for Disaster Recovery.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit floridajobs.org.