$616M approved for hurricane recovery in Florida


On June 28, following a meeting with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, Gov. Rick Scott announced the approval to distribute $616 million to local communities for Florida’s long-term recovery efforts from last year’s hurricane season.

To benefit those who were impacted by Hurricane Irma, as well as those displaced by Hurricane Maria, the funds will be used to replace and repair damaged homes, build new affordable housing and provide grants to impacted businesses through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. Funds will be administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO).

“It’s great news that we were able to secure critical funding from HUD that will directly benefit the families who were most affected by last year’s storms,” Scott said. “This $616 million will enable communities to build new affordable housing and to replace homes lost in the wake of last year’s hurricane season. Through this program, we can continue to move forward with long-term affordable housing solutions for displaced families as well as provide grants to businesses who were impacted by the storm. We won’t stop working until all of Florida’s communities have fully recovered.”

As required of the plan, more than 80 percent of the funding will be used to address needs in the hardest-hit counties and ZIP codes. These areas, determined by HUD, include Brevard, Broward, Collier, Duval, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Polk and Volusia counties, as well as ZIP codes 32136, 32091, 32068 and 34266.

 “Our team has worked diligently with community leaders from across the state to create a strong plan to address continued housing and business recovery needs,” DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said. “We value all communities and their willingness to come to the table to determine the best way to use this funding to make a difference for Floridians who were hit the hardest by Hurricane Irma. Under Gov. Scott’s leadership, our agency is working to ensure that this funding builds back stronger communities that are better prepared for future disasters so that Florida families and businesses can flourish.”

Together, with Florida’s hardest-hit communities, the state will allocate the majority of the CDBG-DR funding to address housing needs through programs that: repair and replace damaged homes; construct new affordable rental housing units; purchase land for the development of affordable housing; and provide assistance through grants to support impacted businesses.

Additionally, the state action plan includes opportunities to address critical economic and infrastructure needs in Florida’s urban centers and rural communities – specifically those of the Florida Keys, which experienced the brunt of the storm’s devastation – as well as support for new Floridians who moved from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

For more information about the CDBG-DR program or to view the approved state action plan, visit http://floridajobs.org/community-planning-and-development/assistance-for-governments-and-organizations/disaster-recovery-initiative.