In the 12 months since Hurricane Irma smashed into Florida, almost $3 billion in federal assistance from FEMA, the Small Business Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program is helping to restore homes, businesses and public facilities. In addition to federal funds, the state of Florida, local governments, charitable organizations, community groups and thousands of Floridians are rolling up their sleeves and opening their checkbooks to help survivors recover from Hurricane Irma.
“Forty-seven thousand people have volunteered more than 1.5 million hours on Irma-related projects,” said Allan L. Jarvis, FEMA federal coordinating officer. “People are powering the recovery. Volunteers have been here since the beginning and one year later, they’re still assisting survivors through the long-term recovery groups.”
Volunteer Florida, the state’s lead agency for volunteers and donations, coordinates many of the volunteer activities. In the days after Irma’s landfall, Volunteer Florida:
- Teamed up with Crisis CleanUp to generate work orders to restore 25,000 homes damaged by the hurricane.
- More than 500 AmeriCorps members cut fallen trees, put tarps on roofs, and removed storm-damaged drywall, insulation, flooring, furniture and appliances.
- Partnered with Centro Campesino to provide food, water and emergency supplies to 13,500 people in Southwest Florida.
- Worked with Star of the Sea to provide furniture to families in the Keys who lost belongings during Irma.
- Provided $2.6 million to 77 organizations who helped survivors during the response to Hurricane Irma.
- Recipients include food banks across the state and nonprofits including Team Rubicon, the United Way of Brevard County, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities and NECHAMA.
As response has given way to recovery, FEMA—recognizing that some survivors continue to need help—awarded Volunteer Florida more than $28 million to administer the Disaster Case Management Program. Four agencies are providing disaster case managers to an estimated 10,000 households that may need further assistance to realize their disaster recovery plans.
Volunteer Florida is using some of the money from FEMA’s Disaster Case Management Program to fund recovery agencies assisting survivors. Approximately $5.5 million has been given out in grants and an additional $1.6 million is earmarked to pay salaries, travel and expenses for disaster recovery professionals.
Funds from the Disaster Case Management Program also went to support Long Term Recovery Groups.