FEMA approves individual assistance for five Panhandle counties

Sally damage
The approval will open up more federal aid for area residents.

Five Panhandle counties were approved by FEMA on Friday for individual assistance in wake of Hurricane Sally, the Governor’s Office announced.

The approval will give families access to FEMA programs including housing assistance, crisis counseling, disaster unemployment assistance and more.

FEMA approved the individual assistance programs for Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton and Bay County residents.

“I want to thank President Trump for his steadfast commitment to Florida following Hurricane Sally,” said Gov. Ron DeSantis. “The people of Northwest Florida are resilient, and these individual assistance programs will go a long way to help their rebuilding process.

Hurricane Sally made landfall along the Florida-Alabama border on Sept. 16. The Category 2 storm poured roughly 30 inches of rain and caused dramatic flooding across portions of the Florida Panhandle.

In all, initial damage assessments to public and private property from Hurricane Sally reach roughly $309 million in Escambia County.

The Governor’s Office in a news release said the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) deployed experts in wake of the storm to help expedite the damage assessments submitted to FEMA.

“When touring Pensacola after Hurricane Sally made landfall, I saw firsthand the devastating impact this storm had on thousands of Floridians, and I promised to do everything in my power to get them help,” said FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz. “Since that day, we have deployed dozens of staff from the Division to document every single structure that was damaged, and as a result of that hard work, we are able to bring more resources to the Panhandle today.”

Recovery efforts including damage assessments and fund distribution remain ongoing, the Governor’s Office added.

Meanwhile, DeSantis on Wednesday activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program to aid Panhandle businesses impacted by Hurricane Sally.

The zero-interest loans are intended to help small businesses that suffered physical damage or economic injury during Hurricane Sally.

Roughly $5 million has been allocated for the program.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.


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