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City Events & News Updates

 

 

 

 

 

The American Red Cross is providing limited financial assistance for residents of Bonita Springs affected by Hurricane Irma. Red Cross caseworkers will be available at: Bonita Springs Fire Department, 27701 Bonita Grande Drive, Bonita Springs, on Wednesday, October 11th from 10am-6:30pm and Thursday, October 12th from 12pm-7:00pm. Financial assistance is available to residents with major destroyed or heavily damaged homes. Resource Center days, hours remain flexible to adapt to demand. Bring proof of residence and photo ID. (such as FL driver’s license with current address) Only one representative per household is needed to apply for all. Click Here for more information.

Bookmobile Service will begin on Thursday, October 12 – When: Mondays and Thursdays  until further notice / Time:  9:00 am until Noon / Where: Bonita Community Pool at 26890 Pine Avenue, Bonita Springs, The pool is located south of the library, facing W Terry Street.  The bookmobile will be in the parking lot off Pine Avenue. / What can you do at the Bookmobile? Browse the collection, Return your materials, Holds, All current Bonita Springs library holds have been transferred to the South County Library. If you would like your holds transferred to bookmobile pick-up, please call 479-INFO.

A FEMA Help Center opens in Bonita Springs. The help center is located at 26738 Pine Avenue in Bonita Springs. The center will be open 10:00am-5:00pm, seven days a week. This schedule is subject to change based on FEMA’s assessment.

The center will serve both Lee County and Collier County. Residents are encouraged to visit the center to meet with FEMA representatives, file applications and ask questions.

Visit www.disasterassistance.gov for more information about the Federal Emergency Management Agency

All regularly scheduled activities in the gymnasium will NOT be held during the week of October 9-14, 2017, due to FEMA utilizing the gymnasium, with the exception of Stretch and Tone, which will be held on Wednesday and Friday, from 7 am – 8 am. Sports Club After School Program will be held as scheduled.

2017-2018 Event List: Click Here

Information to assist you is below:

Hurricane Irma documents are available online.
People seeking Lee Board of County Commissioner resolutions, such as evacuation orders, from Hurricane Irma can find these documents atwww.LeeEOC.com in the center of the page.
Residents may need these documents when making insurance claims, applying for FEMA assistance or other reasons.

Contractors
Look out for illegitimate unlicensed contractors who may prey upon homeowners affected by Hurricane Irma. Unlicensed contracting is illegal.
Obtain at least three estimates from licensed and bonded contractors; get the estimate in writing; ask for and check references; ask for proof of insurance; get a written contract;
and make sure all work that requires city or county inspection is officially approved in writing before a final payment is made.
For a list of reliable licensed contractors, contact the Lee BIA at bia.net.Also, for financial protection, call the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) at (850) 487-1395 or visit www.myfloridalicense.com.
Otherwise, to report unlicensed activity, contact DBPR at (866) 532-1440, as well as the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Additionally, homeowners can report incidents of price gouging by calling (866) 9NO-SCAM.

Need help?
Call the Bonita Assistance Office at 239-992-3034. They are open now! Volunteers can also register to help at 239-992-3034.
A resource meeting was held with local charities to be sure they are coordinating needs. We will share updates as we have them. The Assistance Office is still primary contact.
For those seeking a cooling charging option, they can contact Assistance Office as well.

Need childcare? Sports Club will open at the Bonita Springs Recreation Center on Monday, September 18th for ages 5-12 years old. The center has electricity and air conditioning.
The hours of operations will be 7 am until 6:30 pm. The cost will be $90 for the week or $18 per day. They are waiving the registration fee. For more information about Sports club, please call 239 784-7630 or 239 537-1004.
All curfews have been lifted for Lee County.

 

Motorists still urged to use caution with standing water in Bonita Springs area

Motorists are still urged to use caution with standing water in Bonita Springs area, according to the Lee County Department of Transportation.

 

Community Development:
Building Officials and inspectors began a citywide assessment of structural of structural damage. Those inspections continue.

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Update from state Department of Health in Lee County: Beaches test normal

Bacterial testing of Lee County beaches has determined that all are within normal levels. No beaches are under a post-Hurricane Irma advisory. Results are located Here

 

Hurricane Irma’s Impact on Mosquito Populations
Lee County Mosquito Control District (LCMCD) is predicting a large mosquito outbreak as a result of Hurricane Irma’s heavy rains and flooding. Coastal and inland areas have expansive areas of standing water, which will produce large numbers of mosquitoes.
Treatments to control adult mosquitoes will begin Sept. 18th between the hours of 9 PM and 2 AM. Residents of Lee County may encounter adult mosquitoes for several days before experiencing relief from LCMCD control efforts. Areas with the highest numbers of adult mosquitoes and that are without power will be treated first. Many areas still have debris and flooding preventing ground control of adult mosquitoes. LCMCD suggests individuals consider using repellent to protect themselves from mosquitoes.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Animal Industries, preventing animals from exposure to adult mosquitoes is important. Horses should be stabled inside during peak mosquito feeding times, which are dawn and dusk. Use of mosquito-resistant devices such as well-maintained insect screening and fans may reduce potential access of mosquitoes to equine and other livestock hosts. Horse owners should use repellents approved for use on horses, but the effectiveness of some formulations under certain conditions (e.g., rain, perspiration) may be limited. Always follow label instructions. Residents are encouraged to contact their veterinarian for advice on mosquito protection measures for pets and livestock, especially for heartworm disease. To report mosquito concerns please call 239-694-2174.

To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, the Department of Health recommends that individuals remain diligent in their personal prevention efforts. These should include the following for prevention:

• Apply repellent. Using mosquito repellent is one of the most important ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes.
• Wear light colored clothing that covers most of your skin.
• Ensure or restore all window and door screens are secure and functional.
• Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs. Areas to check: clear rain gutters so that water can drain, keep pools chlorinated, flush or treat bromeliad plants, change water in birdbaths once a week, remove obstructions to water flow in drainage ditches, and remove, cover, invert or dump containers that hold water.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tips on Repellent Use:
• Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before you apply a repellent. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
• Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other effective mosquito repellents contain Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Look for active ingredients listed on the product label.
• Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
• In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of three years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than two months old.
• Infants should be kept indoors, or mosquito netting should be used over carriers when mosquitoes are present.
• Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.

FEMA
Florida residents with losses due to Hurricane Irma in nine Florida counties are now eligible for Federal Disaster Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Applicants will need the following to apply: Social security number, daytime telephone number, current mailing address and address and zip code of the damaged property, and private insurance information, if available.

Questions about Your Determination Letter

FEMA applicants who have been notified they were ineligible for assistance can have FEMA revisit their cases.

Applicants must read their letters carefully. It should explain any problems that could be corrected. You may need to provide additional information or documents. If a mistake has been made, they should let FEMA know right away by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.

Everyone has the right to appeal any FEMA decision. Appeals may relate to eligibility, the amount or type of help provided, a late application, a request to return money, or continuing help. If you were determined ineligible due to insurance coverage—but had under insured or uninsured losses—you can appeal the decision by submitting your insurance settlement paperwork.

The appeal must be sent and postmarked within 60 days after you receive the letter.

Explain in writing why you think the decision about the amount or type of assistance is not correct.

When submitting the letter, the applicant needs to include his or her full name, their nine digit FEMA registration number and the 4 digit disaster number.

Sign the letter. It must be notarized and accompany a copy of a state-issued identification card. If you cannot do that, write: “I hereby declare under the penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.”

Date the appeal letter and include the FEMA application number and the disaster number (DR-4337) and mail or fax it to:

FEMA National Processing Service Center
P. O. Box 10055
Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055
FAX: 800-827-8112; Attention: FEMA

You can also visit any Disaster Recovery Center to submit your appeal. Find the DRC nearest you by visiting the Disaster Recovery Center Locator page.

Printable and Downloadable Information:
Questions about Your Determination Letter – Click Here
What to do if you disagree with FEMA’S Decision Letter – Click Here

City of Bonita Scheduling

The Dog Park has now re-opened with the exception of the large Dog Run.  Patrons must use the small and medium dog runs only.

The following building permit fees have been approved to be waived. Fees relating to damage from Hurricane Irma for the following permits: roofing permits- singe family and multifamily residential, screen enclosures and sheds. For more information,
please call community development at 239-444-6150.

There are several agencies also assisting with aid in the area. Lee County Human & Veteran Services, United Way, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Harry Chapin Food Bank, Catholic Charities and more. For a full list of organizations, go to. www.unitedwaylee.org

Lee County Business Owners
If your business was damaged by Hurricane Irma we strongly encourage you to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Once registered you may apply for a Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan.

Click the link below for complete and detailed information regarding U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance.

Click the link below for additional disaster assistance programs that may be available for Lee County business affected by Hurricane Irma.
Additional Disaster Assistance Resources

 

 

Bonita Springs Utilities
Bonita Springs Utilities, Inc.’s offices at 11900 East Terry Street are open for business. Go to BSU.us for information updates.

 

Solid Waste

Update from Lee County Solid Waste: Another self-drop off site added –  

FORT MYERS, FL, Oct. 11, 2017 – Lee County has added an additional residential drop-off location for residents who do not want to wait for debris-management trucks to arrive. The new site is located within Estero Community Park. Rather than using the park’s main entrance, residents need to enter the park’s maintenance compound entrance off the east side of Via Coconut Point. Signs will be posted. The address is 21651Via Coconut Point. Hours will be the same as the county’s other two self-drop sites – 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. seven days a week beginning Thursday, Oct. 12.

 

You must show ID and be a resident of Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, Estero or unincorporated Lee County. You can self-haul the horticultural debris from your residential site at no charge.

 

Other self-drop sites are Lee County Mosquito Control in Buckingham and in South Fort Myers at 14790 A & W Bulb Road.

 

Additional information can be found at www.leegov.com/solidwaste

What is the difference between storm-related debris and regular household trash?

Storm debris includes any trees, tree limbs and shrubs that went down in the hurricane. It also includes any fencing, flooring, furniture or wall board, etc. that had to be removed from the home due to flooding or other structural damage. This will be picked up by special debris-collection contractors.

Regular household trash is those things that you would throw away in a typical week. This will be picked up by your regular waste hauler.

When will the storm debris be collected from my curb and what should I do to prepare?

Regular household garbage collections have begun and will continue to proceed on the regularly scheduled collection days.

The City of Bonita Springs contractors will begin storm debris removal on Monday, September 18th on areas where Hurricane Irma has generated storm debris to the extent that these areas can be safely accessed to perform debris removal.
Residents of impacted areas that can safely do so, are asked to place any storm-generated debris on the public right-of-way.

The public right-of-way is the area of residential property that extends from the street to the sidewalk, ditch, utility pole or easement. Residents are urged to separate the debris as follows:

• VEGETATIVE DEBRIS (whole trees, tree stumps, tree branches, tree trunks and other leafy material)
• CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION DEBRIS (damaged components of buildings and structures such lumber and wood, wall board, glass, metal, roofing materials, tile, furnishings, and fixtures)
• HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (materials that are ignitable, reactive, toxic or corrosive such as paints, cleaners, pesticides, etc.)
• WHITE GOODS (refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, heat pumps, ovens, ranges, washing machines, clothes dryers and water heaters)
• ELECTRONIC WASTE (computers, televisions, office electronic equipment, etc.)

Only loose debris will be collected, bagged debris should not be placed on the public right-of-way.
Do not place debris near a water meter vault, fire hydrant or any other above-ground utility. Only debris placed on the public right-of-way will be eligible for collection until further notice.
The attached flyer provides residents with a visual overview of the proper method to set debris on the right-of-way.
The City of Bonita Springs urges all residents to make personal safety a top priority, and only set out debris if it is safe to do so at this time.

 

Cleaning Up Your Property

Don’t wait to clean up. Start repairs to make your home safe and livable again. Be sure to get a building permit from your local building department before starting structural work.

 

Clean up debris as soon as possible. Do not wait for a flood insurance adjuster or FEMA home inspector to come to your home.

 

The NFIP advises policyholders to proceed with debris removal once it is safe to re-enter the structure.

  • Take photos or videos of the outside and inside of the building, including damaged personal property, and label them by room before you remove anything;
  • Photograph the make, model and serial number of items like washers and dryers, hot water heaters, kitchen appliances, TVs and computers;
  • Keep samples of carpet, flooring, wallpaper, drapes, etc;
  • Separate damaged from undamaged personal property items to show the adjuster;
  • After taking photos, immediately throw away flooded content items that pose a health risk, such as perishable food, clothing, cushions and pillows.

 

Transitional Sheltering Assistance – Deadline Extension

  • FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program was extended to ensure uninterrupted temporary sheltering assistance for Florida survivors.

 

  • The extension covers September 24 to October 7, checking out on October 8.
  • Individuals who remain eligible for continued transitional sheltering assistance can remain in their current temporary lodging location.

 

 

Transitional Sheltering Assistance

  • TSA provides short-term lodging for eligible disaster survivors whose residence is uninhabitable or inaccessible.
  • To be eligible for TSA, individuals and households must:

o          Register with FEMA for assistance.

o          Pass identity and citizenship verification.

o          Have a pre-disaster primary residence located in a geographic area that is designated for TSA.

o          Be displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence as a result of the disaster.

o          Be unable to obtain lodging through another source.

 

  • For those eligible, FEMA will authorize and fund TSA through direct payments to participating hotels/motels. The list of approved hotels is available at www.disasterassistance.gov or call the FEMA Helpline (800) 621-3362 (voice, 711/VRS-Video Relay Service) (TTY: (800) 462-7585).

 

  • If a hotel would like to participate in the TSA program, has questions about an applicant’s eligibility or payments by the lodging contractor or has questions about finding an applicant in their system, they should be directed to www.ela.corplodging.com.

 

Transitional Sheltering Assistance – Issue Finding Hotels

  • The list of hotels participating in the program and accepting eligible households is being updated daily. The website is: www.femaevachotels.com.

 

  • The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association made calls to more than 700 hotels to ensure they were aware of FEMA’s transitional shelter assistance/emergency lodging assistance program and the process to enroll.

 

  • All hotels and motels are being encouraged to participate in the TSA/ELA program. FEMA determines all program activations.

 

Expedited Rental Assistance

  • Some individuals and households may be considered for FEMA’s expedited rental assistance. This assistance helps pay for temporary housing while a damaged home or apartment is being repaired. Certain eligibility requirements apply, so contact the FEMA helpline to discuss options.

o          Communicate your housing challenges to the FEMA helpline when you call, including whether your home is inaccessible, essential utilities are unavailable or the home is uninhabitable due to flood.

D-SNAP is now available through the State of Florida

 

  • FEMA is not responsible for distributing food stamps.

 

Understanding Determination Letters

  • Floridians who applied for disaster assistance after Hurricane Irma should read their letters from FEMA carefully. It should explain any problems that could be corrected. If a mistake has been made, they should let FEMA know right away by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) or visiting a Disaster Recovery Center.

 

  • Sometimes you may need to provide additional information to be eligible for assistance.

 

  • Everyone has the right to appeal. Appeals may relate to eligibility, the amount or type of help provided, a late application, a request to return money, or continuing help.

 

  • The process to appeal should be included in the letter you received from FEMA. More information about eligibility and determination letters can be found on www.fema.gov, by searching “questions about your determination letter.”

Locate a Shelter

  • If you and your family need a place to stay, download the FEMA mobile app and look under Disaster Resources for a list of nearby shelters.

Or call 800-REDCROSS (733-2767). The American Red Cross (ARC) provides food, comfort and shelter to those who need it— without regard to race, religion or citizenship status. You can also text SHELTER and your zip code to 43362 to locate an open shelter in your area (Example: SHELTER 12345).

 

Critical Needs Assistance

  • FEMA may provide a one-time $500 payment per household to Florida survivors who, as a result of the disaster, have immediate or critical needs because they are displaced from their primary dwelling.

 

  • Immediate or critical needs are life-saving and life-sustaining items and may include: water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, durable medical equipment, and fuel for transportation.

 

  • Critical Needs Assistance eligibility is decided at the time of registration based on the applicants’ response ‘yes’ to  key questions and if they meet the eligibility criteria.

 

  • Individuals and households may be eligible for Critical Needs Assistance if all of the following have been met:

o          A registration is completed with FEMA;

o          The applicant passes identity verification;

o          At registration, the applicant asserts that they have critical needs and requests financial assistance for those needs and expenses;

o          Their pre-disaster primary residence is located in a designated county in Florida; and

o          The applicant is displaced from their pre-disaster primary residence as a result of the disaster.

 

Assistance for Florida’s Displaced Workforce

  • If you are a displaced worker because of Hurricane Irma, help is available through a special program for re-employment and emergency assistance run by a team of state and local community representatives called the Florida Reemployment and Emergency Assistance Coordination Team, or REACT.

 

  • Displaced worker grants are awarded for temporary employment to conduct a variety of services for disaster survivors, such as providing food, clothing and shelter or helping to demolish, clean or reconstruct damaged structures and facilities.

 

  • To file, visit the web page floridajobs.org, go to the Hurricane Irma Recovery Assistance image and select the link: Apply for Disaster Unemployment. If you need assistance with filing, call 800-385-3920.

 

  • The application deadline is October 16.

 

 

Public Assistance Program

  • The updated Public Assistance delivery model will be implemented in Florida for Hurricane Irma.

 

  • Delivery of Public Assistance under the changed delivery model simplifies and improves the delivery of grants by deliberately targeting the early phases of the grants life-cycle in order to avoid challenges that historically arose post-award and during grant closeout.

 

  • FEMA, through its regional offices, will ensure applicants, grantees, and FEMA staff are fully trained to ensure successful delivery of the Public Assistance grant program. For more information on FEMA Public Assistance, visit: www.fema.gov/public-assistance- local-state-tribal-and-non-profit.

 

National Flood Insurance Program

  • To help homeowners with flood insurance whose homes sustained damage from Hurricane Irma, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has waived a few requirements to make it easier to get advance payments quicker.

 

  • As of Sept. 23, more than 19,000 flood-insured policyholders in Florida have received more than $12 million in advance payments.

 

  • To file a flood insurance claim under the NFIP, contact your insurance agent immediately. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – select option 2 – to learn more about your policy and be directed to the appropriate claims resource.

 

  • Disaster survivors who have received federal disaster assistance in a previous disaster and live in a Special Flood Hazard Area have a requirement to obtain and maintain flood insurance on their affected property. Those survivors who have this requirement and do not obtain or maintain flood insurance will be considered non-compliant when applying for assistance during this current disaster. They will be ineligible for the home repair portion of housing assistance. However, they may still be eligible for rental assistance.

 

Debris Removal

  • Individual property owners are responsible for debris removal from their private property unless otherwise requested by the state and approved by FEMA.

 

  • Your local government will provide information on curbside pickup and disposal. FEMA reimburses local governments for eligible curbside storm-generated debris removal.

 

  • Separation of debris left at curbside is highly recommended. Examples include: vegetative, electronic goods, hazardous household waste and white goods (refrigerators, washing machines, etc.).

 

 

Assistance for Individuals

Designations

  • In Florida, 48 counties are designated for Individual Assistance. Homeowners and renters in Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Citrus, Clay, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lafayette, Lake, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Miami- Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Sumter, Suwannee, Union, Volusia counties may now apply for federal disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from Hurricane Irma.

 

Short-Term Housing Options

  • Multiple forms of assistance and short-term housing options are available to support survivors in building a bridge to recovery:

o          Shelters remain open. Download the FEMA mobile app for directions to open shelters and weather alerts

o          FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA)

o          Rental Assistance

o          Temporary Blue Roofs

o          Disaster Unemployment Assistance

o          Disaster Distress Helpline

o          Immediate Foreclosure Relief from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

o          Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA)

 

Twelve Additional Florida Counties Eligible for Operation Blue Roof

  • Eligible homeowners in Brevard, Citrus, Indian River, Lake, Martin, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, St. Lucie, and Volusia counties are now eligible for no cost assistance with temporary roof repairs. The newly added counties are in addition to Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties that were previously approved.

 

  • Operation Blue Roof provides a temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made. The blue plastic sheeting is installed using strips of wood that are secured to the roof with nails or screws.

 

  • Only primary residences with standard shingled roofs are eligible to receive a temporary blue roof. Metal roofs and mobile homes may be repaired as practical on a case by case basis. Roofs with greater than 50 percent structural damage are not eligible for this program.

 

  • For rental property, legal permission for a blue roof to be installed must be obtained from the property owner. Renters must also obtain legal permission from their landlord to continue occupying the residence until more permanent repairs are made.

 

  • Homeowners must sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form to allow government employees and contractors onto their property to assess damage and install the temporary covering. ROE collection centers are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week unless otherwise noted.

 

  • Five new Right of Entry collection centers have opened:

 

BROWARD COUNTY

Walmart Parking Lot

2500 West Broward Blvd.

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

 

CHARLOTTE COUNTY

Lowe’s Home Improvement

2000 Tamiami Trail

Port Charlotte, FL 33948

 

 

 

 

COLLIER COUNTY

Development Services Building

2800 North Horseshoe Dr.

Naples, FL 34104

 

 

 

 

 

LEE COUNTY

Lowe’s Home Improvement

8040 Dani Dr.

Fort Myers, FL 33966

 

 

 

  • Current information on Operation Blue Roof is available on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District web site at www.saj.usace.army.mil/BlueRoof and at

1-888-ROOF-BLU (1-888-766-3258). Information is provided in both English and Spanish through this single number. The Blue Roof webpage is also available in Spanish at www.saj.usace.army.mil/blueroof_espanol/.

 

Disaster Unemployment

  • Disaster Unemployment helps workers whose primary incomes are lost or interrupted by a federally declared disaster. It differs from regular state unemployment insurance because it provides benefits to people who are self-employed, farmers, loggers and employees who work on commission.

 

  • Individuals in the 48 counties designated for Individual Assistance in Florida must first apply for regular unemployment insurance by visiting the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website.

 

Legal Services

  • Free legal assistance is now available to low-income Florida disaster survivors in the 48 IA-designated counties who need help with home repair contracts and contractors, legal advice on landlord-tenant issues or assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims. For more information, visit flcourts.org

 

Why You Should Register Even if You Have Insurance

  • You should apply for assistance even if you have insurance because you may discover that you still have unmet needs after you receive your settlement.
  • If you have not contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, do so right away. Insurance is your main source for money to put your life, home and business back in order after a disaster.

 

  • Insurance may not cover all post-disaster expenses, so disaster programs may be able to help.

 

Disaster Assistance for Noncitizen Nationals

  • Hurricane Irma survivors who are in the United States legally, but are not U.S. citizens, may be eligible for disaster assistance from FEMA. For more information on the requirements for eligibility for noncitizen nationals visit ready.gov/faq-details/FEMA-Citizenship- Immigration-requirements-1370032118159.

 

Mortgage Help for Homeowners

  • Hurricane Irma survivors whose home or place of employment was affected should contact their mortgage companies right away to discuss their mortgage relief options.

 

  • Those affected are eligible to temporarily stop making their monthly mortgage payment for up to 12 months. At the end of the temporary payment break, homeowners:

o          Won’t have late fees.

o          Won’t have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus.

o          Won’t have to catch up on all of their payments at once.

o          Can work with their servicer to resume making a mortgage payment that is similar to what they paid before the disaster. Or if they need additional assistance, they can work with their servicer on options to keep their home.

 

  • Homeowners need to contact their mortgage servicer (the company where they send their monthly payments) as soon as possible to let them know about their current circumstances. The telephone number and mailing address of their mortgage servicer should be listed on their monthly mortgage statement. They also can look it up on the Mortgage Bankers Association website at www.mba.org/news-research-and-resources/hurricane-relief.

 

  • If they are having difficulty contacting their mortgage servicer, they should contact the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) for assistance and FREE confidential support from a HUD-approved housing counselor.

 

What to Expect After Applying for FEMA Individual Assistance

  • Housing inspectors contracted by FEMA are working in disaster-designated counties, inspecting damage sustained by survivors who have already registered with FEMA.

 

  • To speed the inspection process, applicants should:

o          Ensure their home or mailbox number is clearly visible from the road.

o          Keep their appointment or notify the inspector if a postponement is necessary.

o          Authorize another adult to act as their agent and be present on their behalf during the inspection if they have evacuated and cannot return for the inspection.

o          Be reachable, informing neighbors where they can be contacted if they are not staying in the home.

o          Tell the inspector about other property losses or disaster-related needs such as transportation, medical or dental care, tools needed for a trade if not self- employed and educational materials, so inspectors can relay the information to FEMA.

o          Take photos of their homes, if possible, which can be used to supplement photos taken by the inspector.

 

  • Inspectors try a minimum of three times to contact each applicant, calling at different times on different days. If inspectors cannot reach you, they will post a letter at your home with a phone number you should call to reschedule the appointment.
  • The damage inspection generally lasts 20-45 minutes.

 

  • The inspector does not need to document all damage. As part of the inspection process, homeowners are asked to show proof of ownership, such as a tax bill, a deed, mortgage payment receipt or insurance policy with the property’s address.

 

  • Renters must show proof of occupancy, a lease, rent payment receipt, utility bill or another document confirming the location was their primary residence at the time of the disaster.
  • Both homeowners and renters also must have a valid driver’s license or other photo identification.

 

  • Inspectors document disaster-related damage, but do not determine the applicant’s eligibility for FEMA assistance.

 

  • They check for damage to the structure and building systems, to major appliances and septic systems and wells, and enter information into an electronic device that sends the information to FEMA. This speeds up the process of providing assistance.

 

Other Agency Support

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) low-interest disaster loans are the primary source of federal assistance to rebuild disaster-damaged property. SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.

 

  • Submitting a SBA disaster loan application is an essential part of the disaster recovery process.

 

 

  • SBA opened a Business Recovery Center (BRCs). Hours will be 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Saturday.

 

o          Collier County

Naples Accelerator

3510 Kraft Rd #200

Naples, FL 34105

 

 

Department of Health and Human Services

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Distress Helpline

(1-800-985-5990) remains open 24/7 for free help coping with the stress of the storm.

 

Other Disaster Assistance Information and Referral Services

  • Floridians seeking information about disaster-related services and unmet needs may call Florida 211, a statewide referral service. Call 211 to find resources in your community, such as food, childcare, and crisis counseling.

 

  • To donate or volunteer, contact the voluntary or charitable organization of your choice through the National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (NVOAD) at www.nvoad.org. In Florida, go to www.volunteerflorida.org or call 1-800-FL-Help-1. For those who wish to help, cash donations offer voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most- needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover.

 

  • The Florida VOAD Donations Task Force is working to get in-kind/product donations that are designated to Hurricane Irma survivors into areas that need it. If any counties, cities or NGOs in Florida have any requests for specific supplies related to Hurricane Irma, or if you have other questions about donations to assist with Hurricane recovery, they should contact Jason Anderson at 701-866-2939 or gro.e1508204841pohfo1508204841yovno1508204841c@nos1508204841redna1508204841nosaj1508204841.

 

Assistance to Communities

  • All 67 Florida counties are designated for federal disaster assistance under the FEMA Public Assistance (PA) program. The program covers partial reimbursement for eligible infrastructure repairs and debris clean up.

o          Public Assistance benefits whole communities by reimbursing state and local governments and certain private non-profits at least 75% of eligible costs to restore power and water; repair roads, bridges, schools, and libraries; and clean up parks and recreational facilities.

o          Twenty-one Florida counties are now eligible to apply for additional funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program to supplement state and local recovery efforts in areas that sustained damage from Hurricane Irma.

o          Baker, Broward, Charlotte, Clay, Collier, Duval, Flagler, Glades, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Palm Beach, Pasco, Putnam, Pinellas, Sarasota, and St. Johns counties may request funding under the Public Assistance grant program. Assistance may cover eligible debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair or rebuilding of public facilities such as roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, equipment, public utilities, parks and recreational facilities.