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HUD approves Florida’s $616M disaster recovery plan

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday that Florida’s $616 million disaster recovery plan was approved.

Carson said the money will be for housing issues, via the Community Development Block Grant — Disaster Recovery program.

The Secretary also expressed confidence in Florida’s stewardship of the funds, saying that the state’s recovery and mitigation strategies are a “model” for the country, and the disbursement signifies “continued commitment” from the White House to post-Irma recovery.

Among the uses for the funds: housing repair; land acquisition for workforce housing; voluntary home buyouts; business recovery; and assistance for people who moved to Florida from Puerto Rico as a result of last year’s devastation on the island.

Scott said, “It’s great news that we were able to secure critical funding from HUD that will directly benefit the families who were most affected by last year’s storms. This $616 million will enable communities to build new affordable housing and to replace homes lost in the wake of last year’s hurricane season.”

“Through this program,” Scott added, “we can continue to move forward with long-term affordable housing solutions for displaced families as well as provide grants to businesses who were impacted by the storm.”

Per the media release from the Governor’s Office, “As required of the plan, more than 80 percent of the funding will be used to address needs in the hardest-hit counties and ZIP codes. These areas, determined by HUD, include Brevard, Broward, Collier, Duval, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Polk and Volusia counties, as well as ZIP codes 32136, 32091, 32068 and 34266.”

Scott noted that $20 million of the money would go to affordable housing, spotlighting particular needs in the hard-hit Keys and Collier County.

Monies will also go to helping people repair and replace homes. Scott said.

“The money will come in quickly,” Scott said, and “will get out in a logical manner.”

The money should come through later this summer, per the Department of Economic Opportunity, and will be disbursed this fall.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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