Recovery funds related to Hurricane Irma are still coming in from the federal government, as Congressman Charlie Crist announced a $1 million grant for the city of Largo on Wednesday.
The funds come nearly two years after the hurricane narrowly missed the Tampa Bay area, but still caused widespread damage to homes and businesses throughout the area.
“Though we were lucky enough to avoid a direct hit, many Pinellas County residents were still significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma, losing power, property, and millions of dollars in revenue,” Crist said. “This grant goes a long way toward helping the city of Largo and its residents recover from the damage caused by this disaster.”
Local governments incurred millions of dollars in expenses related to storm recovery. Largo can use the grant funds to reimburse costs associated with debris removal, emergency response and for necessary repairs to city facilities, roads, buildings and utilities.
Irma made landfall in Marco Island in Southwest Florida in early September 2017 as a Category 3 hurricane and continued barreling through the state traveling east of Tampa Bay.
While the Tampa Bay area avoided a ‘worst case’ scenario, the entire region experienced tropical storm force-sustained winds and torrential downpours.
To date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved more than $1 billion in total individual and household program funds. Pinellas County received more than $5 million for emergency response.
Also on Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis presented Naples — which also suffered a direct hit from Irma — $41 million in relief funds.
FEMA continues to work through remaining assistance after more than 1,000 government agencies requested relief.
Meantime, a bill in the Legislature would provide $315 million for funding in the Panhandle for restoration efforts related to the devastation caused by Hurricane Micheal.
The state has spent $1.6 billion in restoration efforts from that storm, which they expect the federal government to reimburse. FEMA has been criticized for its slow response to a spate of storms in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico.