President Biden's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied a request from Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in early December for expanded assistance in the wake of damaging hurricanes — including Ian — for "Emergency Protective Measures for a Sheltering in Home Recovery Continuation (SHRC) program.
FEMA argued in its denial letter that, "Due to the limited authorities FEMA has to approve and pay for this type of work, as well as our inability to confirm that authorizing this policy expansion would achieve the intended outcomes for disaster survivors, your request is denied." FEMA's rejection included a claim that the Biden administration remains "committed to our support to, and partnership with, the State of Florida in meeting the needs of survivors," just not in the case of housing assistance for those impacted.
Thanks to Florida's strong economy and the generosity of Floridians and others, Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis joined Florida's Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie to announce that the Sunshine State would take care of its own with up to $25 million in state funding in the place of FEMA assistance to purchase building materials for repairs and reconstruction. In addition, more than $35 million in funds donated to the Florida Disaster Fund will go to verified nonprofits to work on repairs to homes damaged by Hurricane Ian, as well as other unmet needs such as transportation, food and housing assistance, clothing, and household goods.
"We are providing building materials and supporting nonprofit organizations to provide repairs so impacted residents can move back into their own homes," Gov. DeSantis said in a statement on Monday. "Floridians are resilient, and the state stands by them every step of the way as they continue their recovery."
"It is not a matter of if people will get back on their feet, it’s when, which is why uniting communities to reduce red tape and break down bureaucracy to provide relief to Floridians is so important," added First Lady Casey DeSantis. "The generous donations to the Florida Disaster Fund will go to organizations that are on the ground helping impacted residents recover. We are appreciative of the continued and overwhelming support," she reiterated.
The $25 million in state funds will go toward purchasing eligible items such as cleaning products, concrete and cement, lumber, doors and windows, electrical and plumbing material, roofing and weatherproofing products, and tools to clean out and gut damaged homes. As much as another 25 million Florida Disaster Fund dollars will be granted organizations to provide lodging and protective equipment for volunteers as well as other necessary supplies and commodities while another 17 nonprofits will share $10.2 million from the Florida Disaster Fund to meet other needs.