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Monroe County homeowners and renters impacted by Hurricane Irma have received more than $116 million in federal funding for housing, flood insurance claims and other recovery needs from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Here is a fact sheet regarding the assistance provided to Monroe County residents:
• Since Hurricane Irma struck the Keys on Sept. 10, FEMA has provided $56.3 million in grants to Monroe County homeowners and renters for uninsured damage to their primary residence and serious losses related to Hurricane Irma.
• Additionally, the National Flood Insurance Program, which is part of FEMA, has paid more than $60 million in flood insurance claims for Monroe County policyholders, according to preliminary data.
• As of Dec. 1, the Small Business Administration has approved $98.4 million in low-interest loans for residents and business owners in Monroe County. This includes 1,541 home loans totaling $82.8 million, 133 business loans totaling $11.8 million and 55 Economic Injury Disaster Loans totaling $3.9 million.
• About 16,000 Monroe County households have received FEMA grants, which can include money for temporary rental assistance, home repairs and other needs not covered by insurance, such as replacing destroyed personal property.
• About 9,000 Monroe County households have been provided with rental assistance money from FEMA. Many families received two months of rental assistance. This enables survivors to rent an available rental property and check out of hotels.
To date, 199 households in Monroe County have registered for FEMA’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power, or STEP, program. The $10 million grant program in the Keys provides up to $20,000 in repairs to primary homes damaged but not destroyed by Hurricane Irma.
It is not too late to apply for this program, but any homeowner who is interested should do so soon. Details are below.
The purpose of the rapid-repair program is to enable eligible individuals or families to take shelter in their own homes while they rebuild. This includes a functional kitchen, bathroom, sleeping area and air-conditioning for the livable area of the home. The program is at no cost to the homeowner.
So far 53 households throughout Monroe County have gone through the inspection phase and have been approved for repairs. The first construction work is scheduled to begin next week, as early as Monday, Dec. 11. The approved household locations include 20 on Big Pine Key, 16 on Marathon, six on Cudjoe Key, five on Summerland Key, two on Islamorada, two on Little Torch Key, one in Key West and one in Tavernier.
STEP is available for disaster-damaged, single-family, owner-occupied residential properties in Monroe County. These include duplexes, townhomes, modular homes and permanently placed mobile homes. Other types of owner-occupied residences may be eligible, subject to approval by the Federal Coordinating Officer on a case-by-case basis.
Disaster Recovery Centers offer in-person support to individuals and small business owners. Survivors still needing help may visit any DRC.
The DRCs are at the following addresses:
Key West (Monroe County)
The 6805 Building
3126 Flagler Ave.
Key West, FL 33040
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
THIS LOCATION CLOSES DEC. 9 AT 7 P.M.
Marathon (Monroe County)
Old Bank of America Building, 6805 Overseas Highway
Marathon, FL 33050
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
THIS LOCATION CLOSES DEC. 9 AT 3 P.M.
Crews currently are working to collect eligible construction and demolition hurricane debris, as well as vegetative hurricane debris in the following areas:
* Lower Sugarloaf
* Upper Sugarloaf in Indian Mounds Estate
* Cudjoe Key on the north side of U.S. 1 in the Cudjoe Ocean Shores Subdivision
* Cudjoe Key on the south side on Spanish Main Drive and roads off of it
* Summerland Key on the ocean side near the airport to facilitate safety for Trauma Star and Summerland estates
* Ramrod Key on the north side, including Ramrod Shores
* Breezeswept Beach Estates on Ramrod Key
* Little Torch Key on the Oceanside, including Coral Shores Estates, Torch Key Estates and Mate’s Beach.
* Big Pine Key’s Palm Villa Estates neighborhood and the Sands Subdivision that includes the Avenues.
* Tropical Key Colony and Pine Channel Estates subdivisions on Big Pine Key
* Long Beach Road on Big Pine Key
The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution Monday that authorizes the Florida Department of Transportation to conduct a “Final Trash and Debris Pick Up” along all of U.S. Highway 1 in Monroe County. The resolution calls for completion of the final pass no later than Jan. 16, 2018.
Contractor MCM will begin the final pass along U.S. 1 Wednesday, Dec. 6, MCM’s Eddie Martinez said at the BOCC Special Meeting held at the Marathon Government Center.
The plan is to start the debris collection along U.S. 1 on Big Pine Key, with crews working outward in both directions. MCM will start Wednesday’s collection with 25 to 50 trucks, with the possibility of bringing in more trucks to meet the Jan. 16 deadline.
MCM will be collecting the debris that already is along U.S. 1 in the Keys.
REMINDER: It is now illegal to put any more debris along U.S. 1 in the Keys. Law enforcement has made recent felony arrests for illegal dumping and will continue to actively enforce this law.
At this time, the only place in unincorporated Monroe County where dumping of residential hurricane debris is allowed on county and public roads is between mile markers 16 and 40. It is illegal to dump anywhere else on county roads in unincorporated Monroe County.
DEBRIS BURNING HAS ENDED ON CUDJOE KEY
The air curtain burning of vegetative debris by FDOT’s contractor on Cudjoe Key has ended. This was the result of a letter sent Friday from Monroe County to FDOT. The letter requested that the burning on Blimp Road stop because residents were complaining that the smoke was causing health problems
The vegetative debris from that Blimp Road site now will be hauled to the mainland.
Monroe County’s new debris contactor, DRC Environmental Services, has 30 trucks working the area between MMs 16 and 40 on County roads. They are averaging about 12,000 cubic yards per day.
The County public works continues to pick up debris on private roads in this area and take it to the nearest County right of way for collection by DRC.
The Unified Command for the response — officially titled Emergency Support Function 10 (ESF-10) Florida — consists of leaders from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Currently, 2,069 displaced vessels have been removed from Florida waterways. More than 1,500 vessels have been removed from Florida Keys waters. Approximately 160 people from state and federal agencies are involved in the disaster response.
Responders are prioritizing the removal of vessels based on potential environmental impact.
“We are making significant progress along the east coast of Florida and the Keys thanks to our partnerships and the tremendous help of vessel owners taking initiative,” said Jay Marvin, FWC incident commander for ESF-10 Florida. “We couldn’t be as successful as we have been were it not for vessel owners assisting with the removal process, contributing to our efforts. Our success is their success.”
Vessel owners are encouraged to hire a salvage company to recover their vessels in order to provide the safest removal method possible for the public and environment. Owners wishing to remove their own vessels are encouraged to visit the following website for guidelines and best practices http://myfwc.com/boating/
Owners of displaced vessels who lack the resources to have their boat repaired or if their vessel is determined to be beyond repair may release ownership of their vessel through a waiver provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The waiver process can be initiated by contacting FWC through the Vessel Removal Hotline at 305-985-3744 and requesting to turn over a displaced vessel. An FWC representative will then contact the owner to explain the waiver process and facilitate the potential turnover of ownership.
Card Sound Road will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, for the demolition of the toll both and its associated buildings.
If the work isn’t completed in that time window, Card Sound Road also will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6.
The demolition is part of the project to bring All Electronic Tolling to Card Sound Road. The demolition by Halley Construction was delayed due to Hurricane Irma.
Pursuant to Section 1.02(b) of the Administrative Procedures of the Board of County Commissioners of Monroe County, Monroe County mayor David Rice has called a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners for Monday, Dec. 4, 2017 at 3 p.m. in the Commission Chambers, Marathon Government Center, 2798 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida.
The purpose of the special meeting will be discussion and action regarding additional debris removal by the Florida Department of Transportation on U.S. Highway 1.
It is now illegal to dump hurricane debris anywhere along U.S. Highway 1 in the Florida Keys.
Illegal dumping is a felony. Law enforcement will actively enforce any illegal hurricane debris dumping violations along U.S. 1.
The Florida Department of Transportation, which maintains U.S. 1, will conduct one final pass to collect the hurricane debris that already has been placed in the U.S. 1 right of way.
At this time, county residents can bring their hurricane debris to any county transfer station for free disposal.