It’s been more than a year since Hurricane Irma tore through Florida, yet some residents are still trying to cope with the devastation brought by that massive storm.
Following recent federal approval, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has stepped up to help through Rebuild Florida, a $616 million recovery effort for Florida families whose homes were significantly damaged or destroyed.
One challenge facing the state as it reaches out to those Floridians most impacted by Hurricane Irma is getting word to them that assistance is available.
To help, DEO has opened Rebuild Florida centers in communities across the state, where case managers are available to help homeowners register for the program. The state has also launched mobile bus centers, which will take the program directly to those who need it most by spending 12 weeks traveling to counties and ZIP codes most impacted by Hurricane Irma.
This week, the mobile bus center will be in Miami-Dade County in the following locations:
- October 9: West Kendale Lakes Park, 6400 Kendale Lakes Dr., Miami, FL, 33183
- October 10: Eureka Park, 18320 SW 119th, Miami, FL, 33177
- October 11: Cutler Bay Town Center South Parking Lot, 10720 Caribbean Blvd., Cutler Bay, FL, 33189
- October 12 & 13: Southridge Park, 11250 SW 192nd, Miami, FL, 33157
“We know that many families across the state are still struggling, even one year after Hurricane Irma,” said DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor. “We’re encouraging those whose homes were destroyed or are still damaged to go online to RebuildFlorida.gov or visit a nearby Rebuild Florida center to register for assistance. Our Rebuild Florida team will guide homeowners through every step of the process to help them repair and rebuild their homes.”
Rebuild Florida is run by DEO in partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program connects eligible Floridians with federal disaster recovery funding, prioritizing those counties most impacted by Irma and the most vulnerable low-income individuals – including the elderly, those with disabilities and families with young children.
The federal government identified 10 counties and four ZIP codes across Florida as the most impacted and distressed from Hurricane Irma, and funding will go to residents in these communities first. This includes Brevard, Broward, Collier, Duval, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Polk and Volusia counties and ZIP codes 32091 in Bradford County, 32068 in Clay County, 34266 in DeSoto County and 32136 in Flagler County.
The program is open to homeowners and rental property owners. To be eligible, the damaged property must be located in one of the most impacted counties. Further, the Irma-damaged property must have either been the primary residence of the owner at the time Hurricane Irma struck, or used as a rental property for low- to- moderate-income individuals.
Eligible Florida residents have until Dec. 23 to register for the Rebuild Florida Housing Repair and Replacement Program. The first Rebuild Florida center opened in the Florida Keys on Sept. 24, and additional centers have opened in affected areas around the state. The special Rebuild Florida mobile bus centers have been deployed so far in Northeast Florida and the Florida Keys.
Affected Floridians can register for the program online at RebuildFlorida.gov or by calling 844-833-1010. More information about Rebuild Florida center locations is available on the website.