On the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Irma’s landfall, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) today highlights milestones that have assisted residents and communities recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Irma. Launched in September 2018, Rebuild Florida uses federal funding for Florida’s long-term recovery efforts from the devastating impacts of natural disasters.
The milestones Rebuild Florida has achieved over the past year include:
- Housing Repair and Replacement Program – To date, more than 7,500 Floridians have completed an application, with more than 2,100 Florida families receiving an award from the Program, totaling nearly $83 million for repair activities. More than 400 projects are now in permitting stage across Florida. The Rebuild Florida Housing Repair and Replacement Program repairs, rebuilds or replaces single family and rental housing for families impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- Workforce Affordable Housing Program – On September 20, 2019, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) announced the approval of funding for four developments in Monroe County, totaling $25 million. On December 12, 2019, Florida Housing announced the approval of funding for 23 developments in Hurricane Irma-impacted communities in Florida, totaling over $134 million. On April 17, 2020, Florida Housing obtained board approval for three additional projects in Monroe County. The Rebuild Florida Workforce Affordable Housing Program, launched by DEO in partnership with Florida Housing, facilitates the creation of quality, resilient affordable housing units to help address the shortage of housing caused by Hurricane Irma.
- Voluntary Home Buyout Program – On December 3, 2019, Governor DeSantis announced that more than $44 million in CDBG-DR funding has been awarded to 11 Florida communities impacted by Hurricane Irma. The Rebuild Florida Voluntary Home Buyout Program encourages risk reduction through the purchase of residential property in high flood-risk areas to help reduce the impact of future disasters.
- Infrastructure Repair Program – On January 30, 2020, Governor DeSantis announced that more than $84 million has been awarded to 21 communities to improve infrastructure in Hurricane Irma-impacted communities. On March 28, 2020, DEO announced $100 million of additional funds for local governments in communities impacted by Hurricane Irma. The second application cycle closed on June 30, 2020, and applications are being reviewed and evaluated for the awarding of funds. The Rebuild Florida Infrastructure Repair Program funds infrastructure restoration and improvement projects in communities impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- Workforce Recovery Training Program – On February 26, 2020, Governor DeSantis announced more than $14 million has been awarded to seven educational institutions and local workforce development boards. The Rebuild Florida Workforce Recovery Training Program makes funding available to local workforce development boards, educational institutions and technical centers located in the communities most impacted by Hurricane Irma.
- Business Loan Fund – To date, nearly $2 million in loan funds have been disbursed to Florida small businesses. The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund has $40 million available in state and federal funds that are administered by DEO in partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to target industries identified by the state as key strategic markets for future growth and focuses on creating and enhancing the diversification and resiliency of Florida’s economy. The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund addresses the current gap in available, affordable capital for businesses by providing longer term loans with higher funding levels at market interest rates.
After Hurricane Irma’s landfall, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds, ultimately totaling more than $800 million, for DEO to assist with long-term recovery from the impacts of Hurricane Irma. Working with impacted communities around the state, DEO developed the State Action Plan to guide how this funding will assist Florida’s families, businesses and communities still recovering from Hurricane Irma.
More information about these programs can be found on Rebuild Florida’s webpage.
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 www.FloridaJobs.org.