Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell says the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to send more than $8.5 million to the city of Homestead to help the region recover from Hurricane Irma.
That storm struck South Florida in 2017, but the impact remains. Homestead is located in the southern part of Miami-Dade County near the Keys. That portion of South Florida was particularly affected, with millions already allocated for recovery and repairs.
Of the new round of funding, nearly $6.4 million will go toward repairs for the electric distribution system in Homestead. Nearly $2.2 million more will help remove remaining debris.
“I’m proud to have followed through on my commitment to fight for the FEMA funds owed to our communities still recovering from Hurricane Irma’s destruction,” Mucarsel-Powell said Thursday in a statement announcing the new round of funding.
“These FEMA grants will reimburse Homestead for debris removal and electrical infrastructure repairs. I will continue urging state and federal agencies to release the full funding promised so that we can increase our preparedness and resiliency for future storms.”
Mucarsel-Powell serves on the Economic Development, Public Buildings & Emergency Management Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Florida’s 26th Congressional District, which Mucarsel-Powell represents, covers Homestead and the Keys.
Homestead Mayor Steven Losner thanked Mucarsel-Powell and Florida’s U.S. Senate delegation for pushing for the additional funds.
“Thanks to the outstanding team effort of staff and elected officials from both sides of the aisle, including Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Rick Scott, the city of Homestead will be receiving nearly $9 Million in FEMA Grants resulting from Hurricane Irma,” Losner said.
“This comes at a crucial time for us to replenish City Reserves as we continue to face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Local governments have seen revenue shortfalls due to the economic impacts of COVID-19. Mucarsel-Powell has also pushed the Democrats’ House bill, which would allocate more than $430 billion in relief to local governments.
That would help cover basic services in addition to recovery efforts such as this.
Irma’s threat resulted in evacuation orders covering 5.6 million people. The storm was one of the costliest hurricanes ever to hit the United States, causing at least $50 billion in damage. More than three quarters of South Floridians reportedly lost power due to the storm.