Additional funding approved for citizens impacted by Hurricane Hermine

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By: WCTV Eyewitness News
November 2, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Crucial funding is on the way for thousands of locals impacted by Hurricane Hermine.

FEMA is now approving individual assistance in Manatee, Taylor and Wakulla counties. The September storm hit communities like Steinhatchee and Saint Marks especially hard. Until now, only public groups in those areas had been approved for funding.

FEMA released the following details on Wednesday:

Manatee, Taylor and Wakulla Counties Designated for Individual Assistance

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Homeowners, renters and business owners in Manatee, Taylor and Wakulla counties may now apply for federal disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damages and losses resulting from Hurricane Hermine.

Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco, and Pinellas counties are already designated for Individual Assistance.

Twenty-two Florida counties had earlier received a Public Assistance designation as a result of Hurricane Hermine.

To be eligible for federal aid under FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, storm damage and losses must have occurred as a result of Hurricane Hermine.

Survivors are encouraged to register with FEMA as soon as possible. If you preregistered with FEMA, you do not have to apply again. If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register:

• Online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or
• On the FEMA Mobile App, or by
• Calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA). Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585.
• The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
• Multilingual operators are available (press 2 for Spanish).

Assistance for eligible survivors can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.

Long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.

Survivors should contact their insurance company to file their insurance claim. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, those without insurance or those who may be underinsured may still receive help.


By: Noelani Mathews
October 11, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The images of severe storm damage is still fresh in people's minds, after Hermine hit the big bend a month ago.

"I've never seen so much downpour, trees, and power lines," says Patricia Ann Ware, a Tallahassee resident.

There are still signs of the storm everywhere.

"There's still a lot of damage around town, and there's still a lot of help needed," says Ware.

FEMA has moved in and opened a recovery center at the Leon County Library.

"It's very important that people get the process started as soon as possible," says Ruben Brown, a FEMA Media Relations Specialist.

It's one of five Disaster Recovery Centers across Florida.

"It's really a one-stop shop, where people can come and check on the status of their cases if they've already registered, or register for assistance if they need it," says Brown.

It's assistance that many in Leon County still need for the expenses tied to the damage.

"Some people just might be too proud to show it, but they may need that help and sometimes they just need someone to show them how to get there," says Brown.

Many are looking forward to the day the scars of Hermine are gone, and the memories are left behind.

"Sometimes damaged things can just throw you off track and kind of make it hard to focus again, but with a little hope and a little prayer, it'll take people a long ways," says Brown.

A long way to recovery, and survivors are taking each day at a time.

The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is now open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the LEROY Collins Library on West Park Ave.

FEMA says many of the services available at the Disaster Recovery Centers are also available by calling the FEMA helpline at (800) 621-3362.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
October 11, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A Disaster Recovery Center has opened in Leon County to assist residents impacted by Hurricane Hermine last month.

The Leon County location is:

Leroy Collins Library
200 W. Park Ave,
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Open Monday – Saturday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says these Disaster Recovery Centers serve as "one-stop shops" for residents impacted by Hurricane Hermine who are seeking assistance.

FEMA representatives, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and various state agencies will also be stationed at the centers to answer residents' questions.

FEMA says many of the services available at the Disaster Recovery Centers are also available by calling the FEMA helpline at (800) 621-3362.

Additional Disaster Recovery Center locations across the state include:

Citrus County
West Citrus Center
1540 N. Meadowcrest Blvd.
Crystal River, FL 34429
Open Monday – Saturday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays

Dixie County
Lumber Yard Parking Lot
63 NE 132nd Ave.
Cross City, FL 32638
Open Monday – Saturday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays

Levy County
Inglis Town Hall,
135 Hwy 40 W.
Inglis, FL 34449
Open Monday – Saturday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays

Levy County
Cedar Key Volunteer Fire Department,
489 First St.
Cedar Key, FL 32625
Open Monday – Saturday
9 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays


By: James Buechele
October 3, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- More than a month after Hurricane Hermine hit the Big Bend area, FEMA agents are now on the ground getting people help they need.

Leon County was one of 8 counties where a disaster declaration was issued after Hermine, making them eligible for federal aid.

In Tallahassee, FEMA agents went door to door on Monday, asking if folks had any property damage from fallen trees or flooding.

The local Emergency Management Operations Center gave FEMA agents specific locations and neighborhoods to go to.

So in order to make sure they cover all their grounds, they have to go to each address to ask if residents know about the federal relief. This ensures that every home in that area is covered.

"One of the things that we’re able to find out when we go door-to-door we want to make sure they we're reaching out to everyone, and that there are no gaps. So when we're in the community we can actually get a first-hand view of what people experienced," said Cheria Brown with FEMA Media Relations.

If you're at work or out running errands when agents stop by, don't worry because they will soon be setting up a help center where residents can go to file for assistance. The location for the help center has not yet been announced.

FEMA agents have also been leaving behind informational flyers on residents' doors.

Agents will be in area all week long.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362).


By: FEMA News Release
October 1, 2016

ATLANTA, Ga. (FEMA) -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has extended federal disaster aid in eight Florida counties to help the state, local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofits cover disaster-related expenses and the repair or rebuilding of critical infrastructure.

The state, local and tribal governments and certain private nonprofits in Alachua, Baker, Gilchrist, Manatee, Marion, Sarasota, Sumter, and Union counties can now request funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance grant program to help pay for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair or rebuilding of roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, equipment, utilities, parks and recreational facilities.

Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla counties were previously designated for FEMA Public Assistance funding.

“The additional federal infrastructure funding is intended to help Florida’s hard-hit communities recover from the devastation left by Hurricane Hermine,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Terry L. Quarles.

Assistance for Individuals and Businesses
Individuals and businesses in Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco, and Pinellas counties can begin the disaster assistance process by registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362, which is video relay service accessible.

Survivors who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have difficulty speaking may call TTY 800-462-7585. Helpline hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, seven days a week until further notice.

Disaster assistance may include money to help pay for temporary housing and essential home repairs. Low-interest SBA loans may also be available for losses not covered by insurance or other sources.


By: Erin Lisch
September 29, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-People in 8 Florida counties Leon, Citrus, Dixie Hernando, Hillsborough, Levy, Pasco and Pinellas can now apply for that money.

Many of the counties in the Big Bend will not be getting any individual funding, truly a case of the have and have nots.

After the storm swept through the area, a huge pile of tree debris sits outside Tallahassee resident Rebecca Sager’s home, "To find something like the top of your roof in the middle of your hallway."

That's what sager found when a 100 foot pine tree fell into her home during the hurricane.

The disaster declaration could provide her a grant up to $33,000 for things like recovery costs.

"It's still a substantial expense, so that definitely helps out a lot," said Sager.

But not all counties will receive individual assistance places like Wakulla and Taylor County were left out of the disaster declaration.

Taylor County resident Janis Corbin who was affected by the storm said, "I don't know what they looked at when they come over here, but they didn't get it right."

After Hermine we talked with resident with major storm damage, including those in Keaton Beach.

Keaton Beach resident Sandy Beach had her home and business severely damaged, "We were not expecting the devastation we encountered."

A state storm assessment reports Taylor County had 55 homes with probable assistance.

"We pulled out all of the sheet rock, all of the insulation just because it was saturated with salt water." Said Beach.

Now to learn no federal funding is coming their way, it’s leaving many residents upset.

When asking Corbin how she feels about the declaration she said, "Not very good, because I know there's a lot of people that have been hurt bad."

However some in Leon County say while they can apply they'll try and not use those grants if possible.

"If we can make it with what we have in saving we would do that and just try to save the money for other people who don't have those resources."

Money many will need to erase Hermine’s damage.

Taylor County and Wakulla County emergency management officials tell WCTV they're trying to get more federal help from FEMA.

For people who do live in the approved counties, you can see if you're eligible for funds here


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
September 28, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- President Obama has approved a request to declare a major disaster declaration for Florida in response to Hurricane Hermine.

Federal funding will be available to individuals impacted by Hermine in Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Federal funding will be available to state, tribal, eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations damaged by Hermine in Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla counties.

To find out if you may be eligible for assistance, head to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

The White House issued the following news release regarding the disaster declaration:

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Florida and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Hurricane Hermine during the period of August 31 to September 11, 2016.

The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco, and Pinellas.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding also is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Hermine in the counties of Citrus, Dixie, Franklin, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Terry L. Quarles as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and additional counties may be designated for assistance after the assessments are fully completed.

FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.


By: Erin Lisch
September 20, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- As people continue repairing their homes damaged by Hurricane Hermine, Governor Rick Scott is now asking President Obama for help.

Governor Rick Scott said, "We will be filing a presidential declaration of emergency for the Hurricane Hermine, and we exceeded 30 million dollars so we'll get that filed and hopefully get that approved quickly so we can make sure we're helping these counties."

If approved by the president, this federal disaster declaration would provide assistance for state agencies, local governments and individuals.

Walking through Tallahassee resident Mark Wingate’s home, you can see tarps across the ceilings.

Showing WCTV through his house, Mark Wingate said, "The puncture up there, this is where it drained into the sink right here."

For Wingate, his roof is now destroyed after major damage from Hermine.

"We just heard this loud sound, and it was the neighbor's tree falling as you can see there and water coming into the house," says Wingate.

Governor Rick Scott is now pushing to get federal help to affected counties, "We should meet the standards, we believe we meet the standards, and hopefully the president will declare an emergency declaration quickly."

If the declaration is approved, the City of Tallahassee and Leon County could be reimbursed for more than 75 percent of their disaster response. They spent about $8.7 million on the storm, according to emergency management officials.

Residents like Wingate say, this is vital.

"As you might imagine I'm all for it I think anybody with this kind of damage would feel the same way, any port of the storm, literally," Wingate says.

An individual could see up to $33,000 back in their pockets for recovery costs.

But for now, homeowners will continue repairing the damage.

"We're going to have to put up a new roof on, and finish up the inside, I don't know how long that will take but we'll survive," said Wingate.

A sentiment felt by many, still dealing with the aftermath of Hermine.

The Governor’s office says under federal statute, if the president does make this disaster declaration, FEMA and the state will come together to allocate the funds.


By: WCTV Eyewitness News
September 20, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Tuesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott submitted a request for President Obama to issue a major disaster declaration for Florida following Hurricane Hermine.

If the request is granted, the state would receive federal aid for hurricane recovery efforts.

Governor Scott's office says the request is for both individual assistance for families and public assistance for state agencies and local governments.

Governor Scott said in a statement Tuesday, “We must do everything we can to ensure that Florida families and businesses can get back on their feet following Hurricane Hermine. I have traveled across the state to meet Floridians who have been personally impacted by the storm and communities are working hard to recover from flooding and damage. The resources and financial assistance from the Federal Government would support our communities and help them rebuild. We look forward to President Obama immediately issuing a declaration in support of all Florida families and businesses affected by the hurricane.”

To view Gov. Scott's request, click here.



 
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