Monroe County Is Sending Substantial Damage Letters to Some Keys Homeowners

January 17, 2018

Monroe County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides all homeowners and businesses an opportunity to purchase flood insurance at federally subsidized rates.

Following a hurricane, FEMA requires the county and municipalities to make damage inspections and determinations on whether the costs to improve or repair a damaged building or structure are estimated to equal or exceed 50 percent of the building’s fair market value (2017 tax assessed value plus 20 percent).

These determinations are done using software provided by FEMA. The intent is that structures damaged beyond 50 percent need to be improved to meet current floodplain regulations and building codes. That way, in future storms, similar damage will not occur and improving structures will prevent unsafe conditions.

County and FEMA staff worked together to complete inspections for all structures in the flood zone in unincorporated Monroe County to determine if the damage caused by Hurricane Irma is estimated to be “substantial.” Other sources of information were used to determine damage, including flooding depth grids and pre- and post-storm pictorial aerials.

As required by FEMA, the owners of structures in unincorporated Monroe County that appear to be substantially damaged as a result of the hurricane, will receive a letter indicating the county has estimated they have substantial damage. Some have already been sent, and others are in the process of being sent. (The Keys’ municipalities are conducting their own substantial damage assessments).

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More than 2.3 Million Cubic Yards of Hurricane Debris and 19,250 Destroyed White Goods Have been Removed from the Florida Keys

January 17, 2018

Since Category 4 Hurricane Irma struck on Sept. 10, 2017, more than 2.3 million cubic yards of hurricane debris — both vegetative and construction/demolition — and more than 19,000 destroyed white goods (large appliances) have been removed along roads throughout the Florida Keys.

The deadline to put hurricane debris along county and private roads from MM 16 to 28 for guaranteed collection was Jan. 14, 2018. The final pass has begun in this area. It is moving quickly, but will take a few weeks to complete.

There is not a deadline yet to put hurricane debris along County and private roads from MM 28 to MM 40, but now is the time to get your eligible debris onto the rights of way. This is important to expedite the cleanup and ensure all eligible hurricane debris is picked up. Collection is continuing in this area.

The county’s contractor just completed final passes of county roads on Conch Key and Duck Key (with the exception of four large stumps that will be picked up with different equipment). That contractor now is completing the final pass in the City of Layton, which contracted with the county to manage its debris collection.
The Florida Department of Transportation is currently underway of its fourth and final pass along U.S. 1 (the Overseas Highway.

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Update: Supplemental Insurance Claim Workshop + Grant Program for Homeowners

January 14, 2018

There’s a free event taking place Tuesday, January 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Courtyard Marriott in Marathon (MM 48.5). It’s designed to help property owners still struggling to rebuild their homes and businesses. You may not be aware that as an insured, you are entitled to additional funds known as your Supplemental Claim. If you are not satisfied with your insurance settlement, this event is for you.

There are two aspects to the event: the first is a one-on-one supplemental insurance claim workshop. The second is a grant-based program that helps homeowners where insurance and FEMA leave off.

Ken Browne, P.A. is sponsoring the event. He has over 40 years experience as an adjuster for the people and has been helping Keys’ property owners since Hurricane Andrew. He will work one on one with you to help maximize your claim. Ken has a 100% success rate for reopened claims.

Rebecca White, case manager for UMCOR (Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church) will be attending. She will help qualify homeowners whose needs haven’t been met by other means for UMCOR grant assistance.

Testimonial from a local business owner:

“Good private adjusters are worth their weight in gold. We worked with Ken after Hurricane Wilma and, although it took considerable time due to the insurance companies processes, we finally recovered what we feel was a fair settlement based on the storm damages incurred.”


FEMA Funding Tops $172 Million for Monroe County Irma Survivors

January 11, 2018

Monroe County homeowners and renters impacted by Hurricane Irma have received more than $172.4 million in federal funding for housing, flood insurance claims and other recovery needs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Monroe County has helped facilitate some of FEMA’s programs. Here is the latest since Hurricane Irma struck the Keys Sept. 10:

•   FEMA has provided $59.8 million in grants to more than 16,400 Monroe County homeowners and renters. FEMA grants can include money for temporary rental assistance, home repairs and other needs not covered by insurance, such as replacing destroyed personal property.

•   The National Flood Insurance Program, which is part of FEMA, has paid $112.6 million in flood insurance claims to Monroe County policyholders, according to preliminary data.

•   To date, the U. S. Small Business Administration has approved nearly $147 million in low-interest disaster loans for residents, business owners and nonprofits in Monroe County. This includes 1,901 home loans totaling $101.9 million, 380 business loans totaling $39.1 million and 87 Economic Injury Disaster Loans totaling $5.6 million.

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Deadline to Put Hurricane Debris on County Rights of Way Is Sunday, Jan. 14; Final Pass Begins Jan. 15

January 8, 2018

The last day to put eligible hurricane debris on county and private roads in the mile marker 16 to 28 area (Lower Sugarloaf Key through Middle Torch Key) is Sunday, Jan. 14.

Final pass in this area will begin Monday, Jan. 15, and continue for several weeks until the debris has been collected. Leading up to the final pass start date, collection will continue in this area.

County public works crews will also perform a final pass on private roads in this area, moving any additional debris from the private road to the closest county right of way for collection by the county’s contractor. It is not necessary for residents on private roads to call to request a pickup.

In the very hardest hit areas of Little Torch Key, Big Pine Key and No Name Key (MMs 28 to 40), a final date to put debris on county and private roads has not been set.

Collections are continuing in these areas.

It remains illegal to put debris anywhere along U.S. 1 in the Keys – this includes between MMs 16 and 40.

Hotel Stays Extended Through Feb. 10 for Eligible Hurricane Irma Survivors

January 5, 2018

Eligible Hurricane Irma survivors receiving Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) may receive an extension to stay temporarily in hotels while they look for an alternative place to live.

FEMA’s TSA, which pays for short-term hotel stays, has extended eligibility from Jan. 7 to Feb. 10, 2018, with hotel checkout Feb. 11, 2018. Participants in TSA will receive a phone call telling them whether they are eligible for the extension and what they need to do to remain at their current hotel or find a new hotel. Applicants must meet certain requirements to remain eligible.

Hurricane Irma survivors who are not currently in TSA but who may be eligible are notified automatically. Participants must be registered with FEMA and be eligible for disaster assistance.

FEMA pays directly for the room and any applicable taxes. Applicants are responsible for all other incidental costs, such as meals, transportation, etc. Hotels may require a credit card for incidental expenses.

A household of four or fewer members is authorized one hotel room and a household of five or more is authorized additional rooms based on a limit of four people per room. One member of each household 18 or older must reside in each room.

TSA-eligible applicants must find and book their own hotel rooms. The list of participating hotels is on, under the link Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program or by phoning the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362. For TTY, call 800-462-7585. For 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

Applicants with disabilities or who have access and functional needs should check with hotels to ensure appropriate accommodations are available. Those with pets must check to see if pets are accepted. Applicants must show photo identification and adhere to any hotel check-in requirements.

For more information on Hurricane Irma and Florida recovery, visit,

@FEMARegion4 Twitter account, or the Florida Division of Emergency Management website.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we worktogether to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.


Nearly 2.2 Million Cubic Yards of Hurricane Debris and 18,854 White Goods Have Been Removed from Along Keys Roads

January 4, 2018

Since Category 4 Hurricane Irma struck on Sept. 10, 2017, more than 2.2 million cubic yards of hurricane debris — both vegetative and construction/demolition (C&D) — and more than 18,854 destroyed white goods (large appliances) have been removed along roads throughout the Florida Keys.

The collection of hurricane debris continues along U.S. Highway 1 (the Overseas Highway) and on county and private roads from mile marker 16 to 40 in the Keys, and along roads on Duck Key, Conch Key and the City of Layton.

The breakdown to date:
Unincorporated Monroe County (along county and private roads) and along City of Layton municipal roads, 1,277,750 cubic yards of hurricane debris and more than 8,456 white goods. The county’s contractors collected 808,846 cubic yards and 6,412 white goods of this total and Florida Department of Transportation’s contractors collected 468,904 cubic yards and 2044 white goods. Note: In the hardest hit area between MMs 16 and 40, county and FDOT contractors have combined to collect 799,620 cubic yards of hurricane debris and 3,176 white goods.

Along U.S. 1, 256,404 cubic yards of hurricane debris and about 1,000 white goods. This was collected by Florida Department of Transportation’s contractors.
City of Marathon municipal and private roads: 286,106 cubic yards of hurricane debris and 7,409 white goods. This was collected by the City of Marathon’s contractor.
Village of Islamorada municipal roads, as well as final collection along U.S. 1 in city limits: 214,146 cubic yards of debris and 1680 white goods. This was collected by the Village of Islamorada’s contractor.

City of Key West roads, 146,688 cubic yards of hurricane debris and 309 white goods.

TOTALS FOR THE KEYS TO DATE: 2,181,094 cubic yards of hurricane debris and 17,467 white goods.

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Monroe County Emergency Management to Host a Series of Public Meetings About Hurricane Irma

January 2, 2018

Monroe County Emergency Management will be hosting a series of six public meetings in early 2018 regarding Hurricane Irma.

These meetings are designed to hear from you, the community. Monroe County wants your feedback about what went right and what went wrong before, during and after Hurricane Irma. We also want to hear from you about what can be done better for future storms.

All meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

Here is the schedule:

Monday, Jan. 8: Murray Nelson Government and Cultural Center, 102050 Overseas Highway, Key Largo.

Tuesday, Jan. 9: Founders Park Community Room, 87000 Overseas Highway (next to the pool), Islamorada

Wednesday, Jan. 10: Harvey Government Center, BOCC Room, 1200 Truman Avenue, Key West

Thursday, Jan. 11: Marathon Government Center, BOCC Room, 2798 Overseas Highway, Marathon

Monday, Jan. 15: Keys Community Church, 30300 Overseas Highway (in front of former Habitat ReStore), Big Pine Key

Monday, Jan. 22: Sugarloaf Fire Station, 17175 Overseas Highway, Sugarloaf Key

Press Release: FKAA’s ‘Resolve to Conserve’ Campaign is Here!

December 28, 2017

Let’s kick off the New Year with a simple, cost-efficient and environmentally friendly resolution.  And, in order to make this resolution easily attainable, the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority will even provide you the tools to get the job done.

A great way to reduce consumption, but maintain pressure at the faucet, is to install an aerator.  Aerators are simple, inexpensive devices that screw right into the faucet heads. An aerator uses a mesh screen to divide the water flow into many small streams with air in between. This allows for the feeling of high pressure with less actual water consumption.  Aerators can be used in both the bathroom and the kitchen.

Want more savings?  Install a water efficient showerhead too.  Replacing old, inefficient faucets and aerators with water efficient models can save the average family 700 gallons of water per year, equal to the amount of water needed to take 40 showers. Not only will there be a savings on your water and wastewater bill, but using less hot water means using less energy.

When looking for these products at the store, there is an easy way to insure that you are getting a high performing water efficient fixture: look for the WaterSense label. WaterSense-labeled products are backed by independent, third–party testing and certification and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and exceptional performance.

To help jump start residents’ New Year’s resolutions to conserve, the FKAA will offer conservation kits at their three customer service offices throughout the Keys. The kits include a WaterSense-certified showerhead, a bathroom aerator and a kitchen aerator with a swivel and a pause valve. Supplies are limited.

FKAA Customer Services Office Locations:

Upper Keys Location
Tavernier Office
91620 Overseas Highway
Tavernier, FL. 33070

Middle Keys Location
Marathon Office
3200 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL. 33050

Lower Keys Location
Key West Office
1100 Kennedy Drive
Key West, FL 33040

Call FKAA Customer Service at 305-296-2454

For more information about water efficient fixtures and to calculate your savings go to

Thursday, Dec. 28, Is the Deadline for Monroe County Residents to Register for FEMA’s ‘STEP’ Program

December 27, 2017

The deadline for homeowners in Monroe County to register for FEMA’s STEP program, which provides up to $20,000 in grant-funded rapid repairs to homes damaged but not destroyed by Hurricane Irma, is Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017.

STEP stands for Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power. The hotline is 1-800-960-5860. It is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. After applying by phone, required documentation can be scanned and emailed to<>.

Information about the STEP program and forms to fill out also are available on the Monroe County website at:

In addition to registering, completed right of entry forms must also be completed and sent by Dec. 28, 2017.

To date, 264 households in Monroe County have registered for the program, with 150 inspections completed and a majority of them moving toward the next step of construction. To date, 5 homes have had the construction completed, and are awaiting final inspections and approvals, and another 8 are under construction. Several other households will soon have construction started.

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