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Governor Ron DeSantis Issues Updates on Hurricane Ian Recovery 10/28

10/28/2022

Governor Ron DeSantis Issues Updates on Hurricane Ian Recovery 10/28

Today marks exactly one month since Hurricane Ian's devastating landfall. In just 30 days, the State of Florida has undertaken the largest recovery mission in recent history to respond to this Category 4 storm, aiding Floridians, their families, and businesses. This week, Governor Ron DeSantis continued to visit areas impacted by Hurricane Ian and announce additional resources available for Floridians in this record-breaking recovery response. Governor DeSantis announced state efforts to assist with debris removal through technology platforms and a temporary housing program for Floridians not eligible for federal assistance.

First Lady Casey DeSantis with the Department of Health, Department of Children and Families, and State Disaster Recovery Mental Health Coordinator Sara Newhouse have deployed free mental health resources to communities impacted by Hurricane Ian. Resilient Floridians and First Responders can visit this site to see a compilation of all mental health resources available to them. BetterHelp is offering three months of free online therapy — visit betterhelp.com/voucher and use code: HurricaneIan. Hurricane Ian survivors can speak with families who have recovered from Hurricane Michael, who are well acquainted with the road to rebuilding after loss, by calling the Family Support Line 888-850-SWFL.

The Florida Disaster Fund has raised more than $50 million since activation to provide financial assistance to our communities as they respond to and recover from times of emergency or disaster. To read more, click here. To contribute, visit www.FloridaDisasterFund.org or text DISASTER to 20222.

To guide Floridians looking for their next-steps, FloridaStormRelief.com serves as a one-stop-shop to navigate all available assistance. Here you can find a check list for recovery following Hurricane Ian, resources for businesses, and ways to help Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian.

State response efforts include:

Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)

  • At the direction of Governor DeSantis, FDEM has developed a state-led housing mission to supplement FEMA direct temporary housing efforts. FDEM is working to provide travel trailers and other temporary housing solutions to survivors with significant housing needs who are not yet eligible for FEMA’s direct housing program. Individuals who have already applied for FEMA Individual Assistance do not need to reapply for the Direct Temporary Housing program but should update their applications to reflect current housing needs.
  • The State of Florida and FEMA have implemented waivers for certain requirements of debris removal on private and commercial properties, including damaged slabs on private property.
  • FDEM is utilizing satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to expedite damage assessments.
  • FDEM has opened a call center and website for Floridians to apply for debris removal assistance, including displaced vehicles, vessels or other titled property. Homeowners, business owners, and titled property owners can visit IanDebrisCleanup.com or call (850) 961-2002 for more information.
  • FDEM is collecting information to assist disaster survivors who have critical unmet needs due to Hurricane Ian. Disaster survivors can fill out the voluntary Unmet Needs Resident Survey in English or Spanish.
  • At the request of Governor DeSantis, FDEM worked with federal partners to secure an additional 30 days of 100% federal cost share for Public Assistance Category A (debris removal) and Category B (emergency protective measures) for Hurricane Ian recovery efforts. More information can be found here.
  • FEMA approved Amendment 10 to Florida’s Major Disaster Declaration for Hurricane Ian. Duval County is now eligible for Public Assistance Category A (debris removal) and Categories C-G (permanent work) in addition to the already designated Category B (emergency protective measures). Pinellas County has now also been expanded to Categories C-G. More information can be found here.
  • More than 500 Requests for Public Assistance (RPAs) have been submitted by counties, cities, nonprofits, houses of worship and other eligible entities. The deadline for RPAs has been extended to Friday, December 2.
  • Impacted residents can apply at DisasterAssistance.gov or visit an open Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Individuals are encouraged to continuously update their applications as their situations change so that FEMA may consider their eligibility for additional assistance.
  • FDEM worked with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to make long-term, low-interest disaster loans available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and other sources. Individuals can apply online using the Electronic Loan Application on the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.SBA.gov. Information and applications can also be obtained by calling 800-659-2955 or by visiting a Business Recovery Center.
  • More than 13,700 Blue Roofs have been installed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. For more information, visit blueroof.us or call 1-888-ROOF-BLU.
  • FDEM is coordinating 80 generator missions on Sanibel Island for lift stations as infrastructure inspections are completed and facilities can begin operation. In coordination with USACE, 14 inspection teams have completed more than 2,600 building inspections in Fort Myers.
  • One barge and one landing craft continue to provide critical resources to the impacted areas of North Captiva Island.
  • FDEM is working with St. Augustine maintenance crews to begin restoration of impacted dunes to be completed before turtle nesting season.
  • Nearly 500 STARLINK Units have been distributed to businesses and responders in impacted communities to provide Internet connection.
  • FDEM has authorized 311 Debris Management Sites to reduce and remove debris from impacted areas.

Internet Connectivity

  • For Comcast Xfinity customers in impacted areas that are still experiencing service interruption, it is highly likely that the equipment or the connection inside the home may be damaged. Please chat with a Xfinity assistant online or call 1-800-XFINITY (1-800-934-6489).
  • Xfinity WiFi vans, which provide free wireless internet service so residents and emergency personnel can stay connected are open and active for impacted individuals, free for everyone, to connect from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily until further notice, currently stationed at:
    • Walmart Supercenter at 1619 Del Prado Boulevard South, Cape Coral, FL 33990
    • Walmart Supercenter at 17105 San Carlos Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33931
    • Walmart Neighborhood Market (Charlotte Square) at 2150 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
    • Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association at 2001 Shreve Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950
  • AT&T is welcoming other carriers’ customers to roam on its networks so they can connect, even if their carrier’s service isn’t available after the storm. Since opening the AT&T network last week for roaming, it has handled about 47 TBs (equal to 16 billion text messages) of traffic from other carriers to help keep those in impacted areas connected.
  • Verizon customers and small business customers in Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties will continue to receive unlimited calling, texting, and mobile data through October 31, 2022, in counties.
  • Verizon has deployed a Wireless Emergency Connection Center (WECC) to assist Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian with wi-fi, phone batteries, and charging stations. This station is available to any customer of any carrier stay connected.
    • Fort Myers Town Hall, 2525 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
  • Additionally, charging pedestals are available at:
    • North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples, FL 34116
  • Lumen customers with either CenturyLink or Quantum Fiber services experiencing outages can visit https://www.centurylink.com/home/help.html or call 1-800-201-4099 to report outages.
  • To report a trouble ticket for the Quantum Fiber service, customers can chat by visiting https://www.quantumfiber.com/support.html or calling 1-833-250-6306.
  • Lumen has set up three 24/7 Wi-Fi locations for its CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber customers. The free Wi-Fi locations include:
    • 4001 Palm Tree Boulevard, Cape Coral, FL 33904
    • 10546 Tipton Drive, Bokeelia, FL 33922
    • 4195 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte, FL 33980
    • 3445 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel, FL 33957
    • 906 Country Club Blvd., Cape Coral, FL 33904
    • 14981 Captiva Drive, Captiva, FL 33924

Health and Human Services

  • DOH and DCF partnered with BetterHelp to offer three months of free mental health services via online therapy to those impacted by Hurricane Ian. To access these free services, visit betterhelp.com/voucher and enter code: HurricaneIan. Visitors to BetterHelp’s site will be prompted to answer a questionnaire that will match those impacted residents with a licensed mental health professional.
  • Boil Water Notices have been issued for 12 areas, over 2 counties.
  • DOH has waived costs for any vital statistics, such as birth and death certificates.

Infrastructure

  • Initial debris pick-up:
    • 4,786 miles of state roads have been completed statewide.
    • Statewide 136,424 cubic yards of vegetation debris have been picked up.
  • Roads that remain closed due to Hurricane Ian:
  • DeSoto County
    • NW 2nd Bunker Avenue at Arrowhead Pond Road – Lane closed, both directions
  • Hardee County
    • SR-64 from Brantwood Drive to Wilbur C King Boulevard – Lane closed, both directions

Mass Care

  • DCF launched the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), which is being implemented in phases by county. Phase three started on October 24 and includes Hillsborough, Lake, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, and Volusia counties. Pre-registration is required by all applicants.
  • To expedite service to eligible households, DCF is offering phone interviews through the D-SNAP Call Center. Details can be found online here.
  • As of October 27, DCF has disbursed more than $84 million to nearly 139,000 households.
  • DOEA and FDOT have partnered to provide transportation to displaced seniors in Southwest Florida. Call 1-800-96-Elder for assistance.
  • DCF has two Family Resource Support Centers in Deltona and New Smyrna Beach to help individuals and families. More information can be found at MyFLFamilies.com/FRSC.

Law Enforcement

  • DCF has created a First Responder Support Line (407-823-1657). This line combines current resources into a single point of contact that will connect first responders with mental health professionals.
  • Peer support is available 24/7 to all FHP members and their families through FHP’s Peer Support Team and the FHP Wellness App to support their overall wellness.
  • FLHSMV has deployed Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobile units to Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Collier counties to provide no-fee replacements for driver license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations, and titles.
    • Dates, locations, and hours of operation for FLOW mobiles are subject to change and will be announced on FLHSMV.gov.
  • FHP encourages motorists to report disabled vehicles or dangerous driving conditions to *FHP (*347).
  • FLHSMV driver license and motor vehicle service center closures can be found here.
  • FLHSMV has issued Emergency Order 102522, which:
    • Waives specific requirements for commercial motor vehicles providing emergency relief; and
    • Waives the replacement fees for driver’s license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
  • FWC has established a Hurricane Ian Vessel Hotline 850-488-5600.for vessel and property owners affected by vessels displaced by Hurricane Ian. More than 2,100 vessels have been assessed by displaced vessel teams.
  • FWC cautions all boaters to exercise extreme caution in waterways in areas affected by Hurricane Ian and encourages boaters to report missing or damaged waterway markers by calling 866-405-2869 or by filling out an online form here.

Private Sector Support

  • The Florida Housing Finance Corporation is awarding $5 million to local housing partners to help Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian pay their home insurance deductibles. Funding assistance is available to individuals, and families in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties who apply and qualify. Homeowners can contact their local Housing Initiatives Partnership program office directly for more information.
  • Florida was approved for $30 million for the National Dislocated Worker Grant for Floridians without work due to Hurricane Ian, which DEO applied for through the U.S. Department of Labor on October 4, 2022.
  • DEO staff and volunteers are providing in-person services and surging resources to five Disaster Recover Center locations located in Lee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Collier Counties. Locations for DRCs are available here.
  • Business Recovery Centers, represented by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Florida Small Business Development Center network.
  • Uber is offering free round-trip rides, up to $30 each way, to and from 10 state-approved Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC). Details on how to redeem a free round trip to and from a state-approved DRC are available here.
  • Some requirements for Reemployment Assistance have been temporarily waived in FEMA disaster-declared counties. Eligible Floridians must file state Reemployment Assistance before Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). Learn more here.
    • Over 18,500 DUA claims have been submitted since DUA was activated and more than 8,900 have been approved.
  • DEO has deployed personnel and extended call center hours to seven days per week. Additionally, DEO secured six ID.me kiosks and support technicians to reduce the number of fraudulent claims. DEO is expanding the number of agents available to review and process claims.
  • DEO and CareerSource Florida have activated the disaster recovery jobs portal to connect businesses and individuals impacted by Hurricane Ian with workforce programs.
  • All career centers are open statewide. To find your local career center, visit Find Your Local Team or  Career Center Directory.
  • The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program has been activated to assist small businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Ian with short-term, zero-interest loans to meet the businesses’ immediate financial needs. Click here to learn more.
  • An eligibility requirement of this program was waived to allow sole proprietors in the Marine Fisheries Industry with businesses located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties. Learn more here.
  • DEO is updating www.FloridaDisaster.biz with real-time information for business owners, their families, and employees for Hurricane Ian.
  • DEO’s Rebuild Florida team continues to work with homeowners to assess any damage that may have occurred to Hurricane Irma projects from Hurricane Ian. The team continues to rotate deployed staff to Ian-impacted areas, supporting recovery efforts.
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that certain Private NonProfit organizations (PNPs) may be eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans. PNPs located in the counties of Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Putnam, Saint Johns, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia are eligible. Learn more here.
  • Enterprise Florida activated its Disaster Assistance page with state and federal resources available for businesses to recover.
  • Airbnb launched a website to help with relocation efforts for impacted residents here. This page features properties that are available outside of the FEMA Disaster zones.
  • For displaced residents of Lee and Charlotte counties, Airbnb is working with nonprofit partners to offer vouchers for temporary housing. To learn more, click here.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

  • 311 Disaster Debris Management Sites have been authorized to operate for Hurricane Ian, including 74 in Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties to expedite clean-up, reducing environmental and public health impacts, and meeting federal reimbursement requirements.
  • DEP staff are on the ground assessing water and wastewater infrastructure, with resources from FlaWARN, US Army Corps of Engineers, local utilities and the Division of Emergency Management’s contractor.
  • DEP issued an Emergency Final Order waiving permitting requirements for the storage and processing of solid waste, including storm debris.
  • DEP has also issued an Emergency Final Order to expedite necessary repair, replacement and restoration of structures, equipment, surface water management systems, works and other systems damaged by the storm.
  • In addition, DEP issued an Emergency Final Order (EFO) suspending loan payments for requesting local governments for Clean and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loans for a period up to six months. The EFO also modifies procedures that could make anticipated SRF funds available to impacted local governments. This will provide cities and counties impacted by Hurricane Michael with flexible local funding that can be used for more urgent needs, while focusing their resources on rebuilding their communities as quickly as possible.

Licensing

  • DBPR issued Emergency Order 2022-05 extends EO 2022-01 to change the renewal deadline to November 22, 2022, for multiple licenses, and extends the deadline for the filing of monthly reports and returns by certain alcoholic beverage and tobacco license holders.
  • DBPR issued EMERGENCY ORDER 2022-06 waives permit fees associated with replacing, relocating and repairing elevators regulated by DBPR in listed counties through November 22, 2022 and extends expiration of work permits.
  • DBPR Emergency Order 2022-04 waives the application fees associated with relocating or reopening certain businesses, including the addition of branch locations regulated by the Department or by any board, commission or division of the Department, where relocation or reopening arises from damages caused by Hurricane Ian in the listed counties.
  • DBPR Emergency Order 2022-03 waives the requirement for certified or registered, general, building, or residential contractors to subcontract roofing work for the repair or installation of any roof type in listed counties.
  • Temporary Veterinarian License Application: The Florida Board of Veterinary Medicine has a 30-Day Temporary Veterinarian License available to out-of-state veterinarians to provide relief veterinary services in Florida.
  • Florida licensed veterinarians interested in offering volunteer services should contact Florida Vet Corp for information at 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352).

Insurance

  • OIR is requiring insurers to report preliminary catastrophe claims for Hurricane Ian. To date, insurers have reported a total of $ 7,595,678,739 in estimated insured losses and a total of 587,693 claims. Additional claim data and information can be found here.
  • The Department of Revenue issued an Emergency Order, extending certain filing due dates for Florida businesses in counties impacted by Hurricane Ian. The September 2022 and October 2022 reporting periods are extended to November 23, 2022, for sales and use tax, reemployment tax and several other tax types. Those businesses affected by this order or impacted by the storm may contact Taxpayer Services at (850) 488-6800 or by email at GTAHurricaneHelp@Floridarevenue.com with questions.
  • OIR issued Emergency Order 300997-22-EO regarding the extension of grace periods, limitations on cancellations and nonrenewals, deemers and limitations on “use and file” filings.
  • OIR instituted a data call to collect catastrophe claims data related to Hurricane Ian. OIR is requiring daily catastrophe claims reporting for Hurricane Ian to assist with determining the impact on Florida’s insurance industry. More information is available here.

Elections Update

  • At the request of the Supervisors of Elections in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties, and at the recommendation of Secretary of State Cord Byrd, the Governor signed Executive Order 22-234, which will help ensure adequate access to Florida’s 2022 General Election ballot for the voters of Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties.
  • The Governor’s Executive Order includes provisions authorizing the Supervisors of Elections in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties to:
  • Extend the number of days for early voting and designate additional early voting locations. The early voting period may begin as early as Monday, October 24, 2022, and can extend through Election Day, November 8, 2022.
  • Allow voters in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties to request by phone that their vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to an address other than their address of record. Voters must still provide an appropriate form of identification in the same manner as absent uniform service and overseas voters.
  • Designate and provide notice of the locations for secure ballot intake stations and relocate and consolidate polling locations as necessary.
  • Increase the pool of eligible poll workers who may serve within Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties by making eligible any poll workers previously trained for the 2020 election cycle and thereafter and by encouraging state employees to serve as poll workers in these counties.
  • Governor DeSantis also directed all state agencies to render aid and assistance as needed by the Supervisors of Elections in Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties. Secretary Byrd and the Department of State assessed the need for these provisions based on extensive outreach to Florida’s Supervisors of Elections.
  • Secretary Byrd and the Division of Elections leadership conducted continuous outreach and assessed the needs and readiness of counties in or around Hurricane Ian’s path, including: Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Dixie, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, Taylor, and Volusia counties. Secretary Byrd also personally visited the hardest hit areas, including Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Lee, Hardee, and Sarasota counties to meet with their Supervisors of Elections in-person.
Updated: Friday, October 28, 2022
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