Urgent Opportunity: Federal Funds Offered to Broward County Flood Victims
In response to the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that ravaged Florida between April 12 and April 14, 2023, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has officially recognized the situation as a major disaster. To supplement the efforts of state, tribal, and local authorities who have been working diligently to recover and rebuild the areas devastated by the calamity, President Biden has authorized the release of federal aid.
This critical action by the President unlocks federal funding for individuals who have been impacted in Broward County, Florida. The assistance made available includes grants that can be used for temporary housing and repairs to homes, as well as low-interest loans designed to help cover the cost of uninsured property losses. There are also various programs aimed at assisting individuals and business owners bounce back from the devastating effects of the disaster.
Federal funding will also extend to state and eligible local governments, along with certain private non-profit organizations. On a cost-sharing basis, these funds can be utilized for emergency work, as well as repair or replacement of facilities that were damaged by the severe weather events in Broward County. Furthermore, the funding can be employed for hazard mitigation measures across the state.
Brett H. Howard has been appointed to oversee federal recovery operations in the areas affected by the disaster. If deemed necessary based on the outcomes of further damage assessments, additional designations may be made in the future, upon request by the state.
How to Apply for Assistance
Residents and business owners who have suffered losses in the designated disaster areas can start applying for assistance through www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or by calling the FEMA hotline at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Applications can also be made using the FEMA app. For individuals using relay services, such as video relay service (VRS) or captioned telephone service, the FEMA contact number for these services can be provided.
Type of Assistance FEMA Can Provide
For residents of Broward County, Florida who were impacted by the storms, tornadoes, and floods in April, FEMA has a range of assistance programs available. This includes FEMA’s Individual and Households program, which covers lodging expenses, temporary housing rental assistance, major repairs and out-of-pocket expenses.
Under this program, expenses for temporary lodging may be reimbursed if applicants can demonstrate occupancy in a primary residence within Broward County, and that the residence became uninhabitable or inaccessible due to the storm.
Assistance may also be extended for essential utilities like electricity and water if the storm rendered your primary residence uninhabitable.
The Individual and Households Program also caters to repairs to structural components of homes, such as windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets, heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, utilities, and entrance ways. Repair or replacement of your furnace, well, and septic system may also be covered.
For uninsured or underinsured storm-related expenses, “Other Needs Assistance” may be provided, including medical and dental expenses, funeral and burial costs, repair, cleaning, or replacement of clothing, household furniture and appliances, specialized tools used for work, educational materials and storm-related moving and storage expenses.
Disaster-damaged personal vehicles may be eligible for repair or replacement assistance from FEMA. Additionally, applicants who rented or purchased generators for their primary residence during power outages caused by the storms and floods might be eligible for reimbursement from FEMA.
Applying for FEMA Assistance
To be considered for FEMA’s Individual and Households Program, you must apply to FEMA. This can be done through the FEMA website at DisasterAssistance.gov, via the FEMA App for mobile devices, or by calling the FEMA Helpline toll-free at 800-621-3362, available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Assistance is available in most languages. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, provide FEMA with the number for that service.
An accessible video explaining how to apply for assistance is available at FEMA Accessible: Three Ways to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance. For updates on Florida’s recovery from the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding, visit floridadisaster.org/info and fema.gov/disaster/4709. You can also follow FEMA on Twitter at FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4) / Twitter and at facebook.com/fema.
In addition to English, FEMA offers assistance information in Spanish and Haitian Creole: ¿Qué tipo de asistencia puede brindarle FEMA a los sobrevivientes de las inundaciones en el condado Broward? (Spanish) and Ki Kalite Asistans FEMA Kapab Bay Sivivan Inondasyon konte Broward la? (Haitian Creole).
Information about Citizenship and FEMA Eligibility can be found on FEMA’s website at www.fema.gov/assistance/individual/program/citizenship-immigration-status
Floridians who were impacted by the April severe weather events might be eligible for FEMA assistance to repair or replace their vehicle. FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program provides financial aid after a disaster to cover necessary expenses and serious needs not covered by insurance or other sources. To be considered for this assistance, apply to FEMA first, then submit an application for a disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). If denied a loan, or if the loan does not cover all expenses, you may be referred to FEMA for ONA consideration.
Requirements for vehicle repair or replacement assistance include the damage being caused by the disaster, compliance with state registration and insurance requirements, and ownership or leasing of the damaged vehicle by the applicant. Assistance is typically limited to one vehicle per household and the damaged vehicle must be an approved type such as a car, truck, SUV, or van.
Required documentation for consideration includes proof of insurance policy, insurance provider settlement, or a verifiable estimate, bill, or receipt confirming the damage was caused by the disaster. For vehicle replacement, additional documentation from state or local government confirming the vehicle was salvaged due to the disaster is needed.