FEMA, Gov. DeSantis reach deal to speed up debris removal in areas hard-hit by Ian
Cars and debris from washed away homes line a canal in Fort Myers Beach. Image via AP.

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State officials also announced new programs for debris removal and housing assistance for Ian victims.

Contractors hired by the state and federal government to remove debris left by Hurricane Ian in hard-hit areas can now be reimbursed for removing wreckage from private and commercial property, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has inked a deal with the state to quicken the cleanup. With a pile of rubble as a backdrop in Fort Myers Beach, DeSantis said he was focused on removing bureaucratic barriers to restoring Southwest Florida, especially the barrier islands, back to pre-storm status.

“You guys see the debris that is here,” DeSantis said. “If we do better on this than the typical norm, these areas can come back to life quicker than (other areas hit by hurricanes) did.”

After a hurricane, debris on public roads and critical infrastructure is removed first, and removing detritus from private and commercial property can take months.

The agreement announced Wednesday will allow FEMA to accept waivers to reimburse companies to remove certain types of debris from homes and businesses, such as damaged concrete slabs on private property, which isn’t usually eligible for a FEMA reimbursement.

DeSantis said FEMA will use satellite imagery and other technology to speed up the removal process, as opposed to the door-to-door process in previous storms. He added that the state is also setting up its own debris removal program, allowing residents to request cleanup for displaced and abandoned property, such as vehicles, boats, trailers and all-terrain vehicles at iandebriscleanup.com.

FEMA also approved temporary housing assistance for eligible residents, with up to 18 months of assistance for manufactured housing units. DeSantis said the state will also offer its own program for Ian victims who don’t qualify for FEMA assistance, and it will offer travel trailers and recreational vehicles.

The ultimate goal, DeSantis said, is to help people stay on their property while repairs are being done to their homes.

“People want to stay but they’ve got to have a viable pathway to be able to do so,” DeSantis said.

These programs come on top of the transitional housing assistance offered by FEMA for stays in hotels and motels. But DeSantis and Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie noted all of those programs are temporary, and the push for long-term solutions has started.

“We need to start getting you into permanent housing on Day One — that’s today,” Guthrie said.

Senate President-designate Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican whose home flooded during Hurricane Ian, said she’s been working with DeSantis’ Office on legislation to increase the availability of affordable housing, something that’s even in more dire need after Ian’s destruction.

“I guarantee you we will build Southwest Florida better, stronger,” Passidomo said.

Gray Rohrer


10 comments

  • The Real Tom

    October 26, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Speaking of hurricane, Charlie Crist was like a hurricane at the debate. Wiped Ron DeSantis right off the map. DeSantis probably went back stage and threw chairs and screamed at the top of his lungs. “Goddamn you Charlie! How dare you, you bastard! I’m God..and you’re not!”

    • Tom

      October 26, 2022 at 4:40 pm

      Joey corsin, demented.

    • eva

      October 30, 2022 at 4:17 pm

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  • Tom

    October 26, 2022 at 1:44 pm

    Wonderful, no surprise.
    Gov DeSantis, mission man.
    Hurricane Ian, clean up.
    Covid seniors, monoclonal centers, surf side, schools opened, you name it. He gets it done!
    The best Gov!

  • Tom

    October 26, 2022 at 11:23 pm

    Corrupt Ron DeSantis is turning the hurricane into his own personal grift.

  • Dan Waltman

    October 27, 2022 at 9:39 am

    Homeowner here.yesterday had a contractor mulch up damaged trees on property.400 Albatross Road Rotunda West in Charlotte county.will there be any reimbursement?
    Have receipt and before and after photos. My insurance does not cover land.I did so as not to. Create a Fire hazard this up and coming summer.

  • BobN

    October 29, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    Years of cuts by Trump, followed by reinforced funding by the Dems in Congress, and FEMA comes back to actually help people and who keeps taking credit? DeSantis. And the media just repeats his false claims of responsibility.

  • Bill

    October 30, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    Gee, I wonder if the fact that the feds pay for cleanup for 60 days before it reverts to the state paying has anything to do with this speedup? He’s certainly a piece of work.

  • Mr Right

    November 1, 2022 at 9:14 am

    Crist would raise taxes to pay for the clean up, cause daddy Joe B told him so. Thank God for DeSantis. MAGA.

    • Lib Sick

      November 1, 2022 at 9:16 am

      -food inflation @ 13%
      -mortgage rates 🔝7%
      -prices at the pumps 50% higher than 1/21
      -$9 Trillion in stock market value destroyed in 1 year
      – 401(k)s ⬇️25% in 1 year
      -$400 B in student loan Cost shift to taxpayers
      -$100 B annually for illegals
      – 45,000 Pipeline Workers Fired
      – Democratic Cities Police Defunded-Record Level Crime
      – 85 Billion Military Equipment Abandoned In Afghanistan

Comments are closed.


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