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 Step@monroecounty-fl.gov<
Information about the STEP program and forms to fill out also are available on the Monroe County website at: http://www.monroecounty-fl.
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.
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 this livable area of the home. The program is at no cost to the homeowner.
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 (FCO) on a case-by-case basis.
If you own the mobile home and live in the mobile home, but lease the site where it is located, you are eligible for the program.
A home is not eligible if it cannot be made safe for sheltering purposes, including due to the presence of excessive toxic or hazardous materials, for less than the $20,000 cap. However, if the price to make it livable is not much more than $20,000, it is possible to have volunteer groups, the homeowners or others do some of the cleanup or repairs to make the contracted work price tag fall under the cap.
STEP Is NOT available for travel trailers, RVs, commercial properties and commonly owned areas, structures or equipment.
Monroe County is the sub-recipient of the FEMA grant for the STEP program, which is being administered by the State of Florida. The contracted work for the repairs is paid directly by Monroe County.
The Process: Homeowners sign a Right of Entry form that allows inspectors onto their property. Inspectors determine if the home can be repaired to meet the program’s livability and safety criteria, as well as the $20,000 cap.
The repairs are scoped in the field by the project manager (Adjusters International), the construction management firm (SLSCO, LTD.). All parties, including most importantly the homeowners, must sign off on the Scope of Work (repair plan) before it is sent to the County for approval. The repairs begin soon after approval. And, once the repairs are completed, all parties – including the homeowners – must sign off that the repairs in the plan were all done and completed correctly.
Although these are only temporary repairs, the applicant will be able to shelter in their home safely until permanent and final repairs can be made.