Remember: The deadline to file for FEMA individual assistance is Nov. 9. This can be done online at DisasterAssistance.gov.
There also are four FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in the Keys to help people register for individual assistance or get updates on their accounts. Two of the centers, in Marathon and Key West, have relocated. Here are the current locations.
MARATHON: 6805 Overseas Highway
ISLAMORADA: Fire Station #20, 81850 Overseas Hwy
BIG PINE KEY: Big Pine Key Community Park, 31009 Atlantis Dr.
KEY WEST: 3126 Flagler Ave
These centers offer in-person support to individuals and small businesses. Recovery specialists from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of Florida are available to provide assistance with filling out applications or updating their status.
Disaster Recovery Centers all operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There are also three FEMA disaster mobile teams that are canvassing neighborhoods in the Keys today.
These mobile teams carry iPads and can register survivors for FEMA assistance for the first time at their doorstep. They have limited ability to help people update their accounts. Please Note: Mobile teams will wear FEMA vests, have proper identification and never ask for money.
These locations vary each day. Today, Oct. 19, there are two teams in Key Largo and one on Stock Island. One soon will be going to Summerland Key. These teams operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Disaster Recovery Center in Key West at the Key West Fire Station #2 closed Tuesday, Oct. 17 and will reopen at a new Key West location, 3126 Flagler Ave., Thursday, Oct. 19.
Disaster Recovery Centers offer in-person support to individuals and small business owners. Recovery specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the state of Florida are available to provide assistance to anyone needing help completing aid applications or updating their status.
Voluntary organizations also are available at the DRC and offer a variety of services to help survivors recover.
CLOSED: Tuesday, Oct. 17, Key West Fire Station #2, 616 Simonton St.
REOPENING: Thursday, Oct. 19, at 3126 Flagler Ave. HOURS: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week until further notice.
The Monroe County–ed task force on housing has been working on creative solutions — due to the unique lodging challenges of the Florida Keys — to help FEMA find temporary housing for people who lost their homes or whose homes are uninhabitable due to Hurricane Irma.
On Friday,FEMA informed the task force that it will increase the rental assistance provided to disaster survivors to rates high enough to pay for available Keys’ rentals, which primarily are second homes and vacation rental properties.
FEMA previously had approved an increase to the FY2018 Fair Market Rent figures of a cap up to 110 percent. But that did not meet the community needs of Monroe County, which has a unique housing market with 29,000 of its 53,000 total housing units owned by second home owners. Primarily due to this unique challenge and the destruction of so many affordable rentals, FEMA approved rental assistance of a cap of up to 300 percent.
This is how it break downs:
• Efficiency goes from FY2018 rate of $960 to $2880
• One bedroom goes from $1,139 to $3,417
• Two bedroom goes from $1,514 to $4,542
• Three-bedroom goes from $1,914 to $5,742
• Four-bedroom goes from $2,514 to $7,542.
Individuals receive this assistance through registration with FEMA for individual assistance. FEMA must approve each case individually for rental assistance.
FEMA’s Mobile Disaster Assistance Teams are canvassing neighborhoods in Marathon (Yellow Tail Road heading east), Stock Island (addressing Haitian communities) and Tavernier (various neighborhoods heading south).
The teams operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
These mobile teams carry iPads and can register survivors for FEMA assistance for the first time at their doorstep. They have limited ability to help people update their accounts.
Please Note: Mobile teams will wear FEMA vests, have proper identification and never ask for money.
Homeowners and renters who suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Irma have one month left to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for possible federal disaster assistance.
The 30-day registration timeframe is fast approaching for survivors to apply for disaster assistance from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Survivors of Hurricane Irma have 60 days from the Sept. 10 date of disaster declaration to apply for Individual Assistance.
Anyone who sustained a loss in any of the 48 Individual Assistance–designated Florida counties should register before the deadline even if they have insurance.
There are two types of in-person FEMA Disaster Assistance now available in Monroe County.
Mobile Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams: These mobile teams carry iPads and can register survivors for FEMA assistance for the first time at their doorstep. They have limited ability to help people update their accounts. Please Note: Mobile teams will wear FEMA vests, have proper identification and never ask for money.
These locations vary. Today, Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams are in Key Largo and on Ramrod Key.
Disaster Recovery Center: Disaster Recovery Centers offer in-person support to individuals and small businesses. Recovery specialists from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the State are available to provide assistance to anyone with filling out applications or updating their status
Disaster Recovery Centers – with hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – now are located at the following four locations”
FEMA mitigation specialists will be on hand at various locations to answer questions and offer home improvement tips about proven methods to prevent or reduce damage from future disasters.
They will also offer tips and techniques to build hazard-resistant homes.
Most of the information and the free publications provided are geared to do-it-yourself work and general contractors. Recovery topics covered include flood insurance, elevating utilities and rebuilding flooded homes.
FEMA advisors will be available at the following stores from now through Oct. 14:
All applicants receive letters from the Federal Emergency Management Administration explaining the status of their applications and whether or not they are eligible for assistance from FEMA. Some may receive text messages about their application. Take the time to read the document thoroughly. Sometimes people do not immediately qualify for financial help and the reason can be corrected.
The following are some common reasons for not qualifying:
• The applicant did not sign the required documents
• Proof of ownership or occupancy was not supplied
• No proof the damaged property was the primary residence at the time of the disaster
• Someone else in the household may have applied and received assistance
Just like you have to beware of unlicensed and unscrupulous contractors in the wake of Hurricane Irma, you also have to beware of unsubstantiated and untrue information. Here are a few false rumors that the Federal Emergency Management Administration has heard circulating in the Keys:
• RUMOR: Houses on stilts do not qualify for FEMA Insurance. FALSE: FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program covers a variety of elevated homes. To obtain a flood insurance policy from the NFIP, you need to live in a community that participates in the NFIP. Because several factors can determine eligibility of a structure, the best way to know whether your home qualifies for coverage is to consult your flood insurance agent. Regardless of whether you have coverage under NFIP, you can still apply for FEMA disaster assistance for free at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/.
• RUMOR: FEMA is paying volunteers $700/day . FALSE: FEMA does not solicit volunteers to work on behalf of the agency, but rather hires and compensates qualified staff. In Florida, FEMA is hiring local employees to assist with disaster recovery. Go to the website www.employflorida.com to apply.
• RUMOR: FEMA’s Disaster Assistance Survivor Teams are going door-to-door handing out $500 checks. FALSE: FEMA’s Disaster Assistance Survivor Teams are going door-to-door to register survivors for disaster assistance (www.disasterassistance.gov). They offer this assistance in a variety of languages. Our Disaster Assistance Survivor Teams do not hand out checks nor do they carry cash.
In cooperation with Monroe County Emergency Management, the National Guard is beginning today a free short-term program in which guard members will remove interior storm damage from residents’ homes as part of the first step to make these homes livable again.
With the homeowner’s consent, the National Guard will remove damaged and moldy drywall, flooring, carpeting, ceilings, doors, insulation, fixtures, kitchen cabinets, destroyed appliances and other unsalvageable contents and bring them curbside. They also will do limited sanitizing to prevent mold from returning.
This is the first two steps of 17 required in the FEMA program called STEP (Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power). This program funds certain necessary and essential measures to help restore power, heat and hot water to primary residences that could regain power through necessary and essential repairs. STEP can help residents safely shelter-in-place in their homes pending more permanent repairs.