FloridaCommerce Announces State of Florida’s Action Plan for Hurricane Ian Recovery Submitted to HUD

Sep 13, 2023

~ Plan prioritizes housing for most vulnerable citizens, and hazard mitigation infrastructure grants to support impacted communities ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, FloridaCommerce announced that Florida’s State Action Plan for Disaster Recovery to access more than $910 million in funding following Hurricane Ian has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funds are allocated through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program to support long-term recovery, resiliency and mitigation efforts following Hurricane Ian in Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Manatee, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Seminole and St. Johns Counties. HUD has 60 days to review and approve Florida’s plan.t

“FloridaCommerce has worked very closely with the impacted communities to ensure our plan is a true reflection of their unmet needs following Hurricane Ian,” said Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly. “While we know from our extensive research and outreach, including 40 public meetings, that HUD’s funding award for Florida is not enough to meet all needs, we are committed to maximizing every available dollar to help these communities recover and become more resilient to future storms.”

“The Division is proud to work with our local, state and federal partners to continue providing critical relief funding to communities impacted by Hurricane Ian,” said FDEM Executive Director Kevin Guthrie. “I encourage Floridians to take advantage of these long-term recovery and disaster mitigation projects to strengthen their ability to withstand future storms.”

“In the aftermath of natural disasters that severely and profoundly impact our state, it is vital we protect our most vulnerable Floridians and provide resources and support they need to get back on their feet. The Department of Elder Affairs is extremely grateful to see that Florida’s Department of Commerce has already taken great steps to prioritize our elders with the “Hurricane Ian State Action Plan”, said Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham. “The collaborative and comprehensive work of our sister agency to assist Florida’s seniors has been a tremendous gift to the Aging Network."

FloridaCommerce conducted a third-party, data driven needs assessment and held more than 40 in-person meetings with citizens and stakeholders to accurately determine the unmet needs in Hurricane Ian-impacted communities. As detailed below, the data and information collected through these efforts concludes that the available funding is not sufficient to meet all needs in the impacted areas. Florida’s state action plan aims to maximize the available funding to serve the communities and homeowners with the most urgent needs and is scalable in the event additional funding becomes available in the future.

Following approval, the state will enter into a grant agreement with HUD for the 20 counties under its purview. Four counties, Lee, Orange, Sarasota, and Volusia received direct federal allocations and will each submit action plans to HUD for separate review. Lee County will receive more than $1.1 billion, Volusia County will receive more than $328 million for disaster recovery and mitigation efforts, Orange County will receive more than $219 million, Sarasota County will receive more than $201 million.

To meet the extensive housing need in communities impacted by Hurricane Ian, Florida’s state action plan allocates more than 83 percent of the available funding across three housing programs: the Housing Repair and Replacement Program (HRRP) ($542,962,194.10), the Multiple Impact Program (MIP) ($120,000,000), and the Workforce Affordable Housing Construction Program (WFAH) ($100,000,000).

The Rebuild Florida Housing Repair and Replacement Program (HRRP) funds the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of storm-damaged homes. Rebuild Florida manages and completes the construction process for the repair or reconstruction of damaged homes on behalf of homeowners.

Additionally, households with one or more of the following characteristics will be prioritized and invited to apply in the earliest applicable phase: households with children under the age of 18, households with members over the age of 62 and households with special needs or special accommodation requirements (disabled).

Several counties impacted by Hurricane Ian in 2022 also suffered impacts from Hurricane Irma in 2017, leading to a significant number of homeowners in these areas suffering setbacks in their recovery process. The Multiple Impact Program (MIP) will serve these vulnerable homeowners who have yet to be served through the Hurricane Irma HRRP due to the significant amount of need. MIP will also assist homeowners who suffered additional damage from Hurricane Ian to ensure all needs are met.

FloridaCommerce’s Workforce Affordable Housing Construction Program, with direct input from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, will fund the construction of new affordable workforce housing to help address housing shortages worsened by Hurricane Ian.

The plan also allocates nine percent of Florida’s allocation to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program (HMGMP) to address unmet infrastructure needs. The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) administers the state’s FEMA HMGP awards, which requires a local match of 25 percent. FloridaCommerce’s HMGMP fulfills the local match portion, giving communities that may otherwise not be able to fund these large scale projects the opportunity to build resiliency and harden critical infrastructure.

On July 13, 2023, FloridaCommerce posted the Hurricane Ian Draft Action Plan for public comment, allowing Florida citizens to share their feedback and unmet needs. The public comment period closed on August 12, 2023. FloridaCommerce received 18 public comments in addition to input provided at the more than 40 public and stakeholder meetings held across the state. This feedback provided valuable insight into the needs of these communities as they continue the Hurricane Ian recovery process. FloridaCommerce actively collaborated with FDEM and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs in the development of the Hurricane Ian Draft Action Plan.

Homeowners who were impacted by Hurricane Ian and are in need of housing assistance are encouraged to complete the Rebuild Florida Hurricane Ian Housing Repair and Replacement Program Assessment. Completing this brief assessment is the first step in applying for housing assistance. Responses to the survey will help FloridaCommerce evaluate homeowners’ eligibility for federal grant funding through the program. For more information, visit the Hurricane Ian webpage or email CDBG-DR@Commerce.fl.gov.

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