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Program aims to support Florida homeowners with hurricane damage

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, some hurricane assistance is available to residents whose homes were damaged by 2017's Hurricane Irma. The $616 million program is making funds available to low-income residents in specified counties. The first counties eligible for the funds are Duval, Monroe, Broward, Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade, Brevard, Orange, Polk and Volusia. In addition, people in some parts of DeSoto, Bradford, Clay and Flagler counties are eligible for assistance from this state program.

The department announced the launch of its Rebuild Florida center based in Marathon and also began accepting online applications for the hurricane relief program. It aims to connect people in Florida who suffered hurricane damage to federal disaster-relief funding available to help repair damaged homes. Announced jointly by Florida's governor and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the project aims to provide support for low-income residents in communities that were particularly devastated by the September 2017 hurricane. Seniors, people with disabilities and families with young children are among the residents prioritized for assistance.

According to the state, the program is launching a year after the hurricane because of federal rules to ensure that other types of hurricane relief, including private insurance payouts and other federal assistance programs, were utilized. The state's director of the department also noted that many Floridians continue to struggle despite assistance from these programs, and unmet needs related to the hurricane continue to be a problem.

Despite the fact that many Florida families protect themselves with insurance, they may face denied or diminished payments after a major storm like Hurricane Irma. Many families have found that their hurricane damage claims have been denied or offered only a reduced settlement. Hurricane damage lawyers may take action to protect a homeowner's rights and challenge an insurance company's determination before trial and in the courtroom.

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