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.
Part 3 of the Recovery Workshop for Property & Business Owners is this Saturday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Marathon Courtyard Marriott (mile marker 48.5).
City representatives, including John Bartus, will be there, as well as representatives from FEMA and SBA. FIRM (Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe) will be present with new information about a mortgage payment deferral program.
Insurance claim expert Ken Browne will be available for Q&A and free claim reviews, plus a representative from the Florida Bar Association will be there to provide pro bono legal help.
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.
Monroe County’s new debris removal contractor DRC Environmental Services began removing white goods (large appliances) Nov. 30.
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.
Cleanup efforts and removal operations of displaced vessels are progressing throughout Florida waterways 12 weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys.
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/vessel-hotline/removal.
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.
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.