Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis award $6.9 million through the Florida Disaster Fund to support Hurricane Ian recovery efforts

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $6.9 million in awards through the Florida Disaster Fund to support continued  Hurricane Ian recovery efforts in Southwest Florida. These funds have been awarded to support efforts on the ground and ensure that the impacted communities have ample resources to support the long-term recovery efforts. With today’s awards, the Florida Disaster Fund has awarded all $63.2 million in committed and received funds raised to help Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian.

“When Hurricane Ian struck Florida, the First Lady and I made a promise that we would be with the people of Florida every step of the way,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Just under a year after the storm, I am happy to be awarding these funds to continue helping Southwest Florida in the recovery process. The Florida Disaster Fund has helped to cut through red tape and get money quickly into the hands of those who need it most. We’ve worked hard to raise more money than ever before and to disburse those funds faster than with any other storm.” 

“When we launched the Disaster Fund for Hurricane Ian, the Governor and I were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for the people of Southwest Florida,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Today, I am proud to announce another $6.9 million in awards to support the long-term recovery of those impacted by the storm. Floridians are resilient and it has been incredible to witness the work of non-profit organizations on the ground who have made record progress in making these communities whole.”

Awards announced today include $2.3 million to 17 long-term recovery groups in the counties hit hardest by Hurricane Ian. These funds will help the long-term recovery groups that are coordinating the recovery process on the ground in Southwest Florida.

Additionally, $2 million has been awarded for Lee County Working Waterfront repairs. Lee County’s historic working waterfront on Matlacha experienced severe damage following Hurricane Ian. This project will help ensure the fishing industry is maintained in the area while they continue to await approval of a Federal Fisheries Disaster Declaration.

Lee County Emergency Management in partnership with the United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties will receive $900,000 to house and manage the distribution network of commodities to Hurricane Ian survivors. This funding will support the long-term recovery efforts and connect available commodities and building supplies with Floridians in need and other non-profit organizations engaged in construction efforts.

To further support the hurricane recovery process, the Florida Disaster Fund is awarding $500,000 towards public boat ramp repairs. Southwest Florida is a hub for fishing and boating. Hurricane Ian destroyed many of the public boat ramps in the area and the funds will expedite the use of these facilities rather than causing residents and visitors to be further delayed with the FEMA reimbursement process.

The Pine Island Beacon of Hope Organization will receive $500,000 to continue their work in supporting local businesses and self-employed contractors to purchase tools that were destroyed in the storm in addition to assisting seniors in navigating services to support their recovery and helping to rebuild the playground for the only preschool on Pine Island.

$500,000 in funding will be awarded to help rebuild the Fort Myers Bayside Park. In August 2022, community members came together to build this community park and less than a month later, it was destroyed by Hurricane Ian. The funds will allow the community to rebuild this park which drives traffic to businesses in the area and gives the families of Fort Myers a place to bring their children to play.

The Jewish Federation of Lee and Charlotte Counties has been awarded $200,000 to continue their work in helping residents of Lee and Charlotte counties as they continue to recover following Hurricane Ian. Since Hurricane Ian made landfall, the Jewish Federation has helped impacted Floridians with food, debris cleanup, clothing and household items and many other important services.

The Florida Disaster Fund raised nearly $64 million to help in the recovery efforts following Hurricane Ian. This was more than double the support the disaster fund received following hurricanes Michael and Irma combined. In addition to raising more funds, Volunteer Florida was able to award more than 84% of those funds in the first 24 weeks following the storm, in comparison to 9.3% of funds awarded in 24 weeks following Hurricane Michael and 12.8% of funds awarded following Hurricane Irma.

  • UH, a couple of things: Casey DeSantis has no constitutional powers to do any of this. Credit should be given were credit due for any typical 1st Lady type programs she begins or runs, but not this.

    No thanks to Pres Biden and his administration’s quick response to Florida’s numerous disasters, even with a red governor who slams him every day in the press? This creep sure likes to blame him for everything else.

  • All I can say it’s about time. How long were they going to hold on to the funds? It’s not like they were collected last week, Hurricane Ian hit almost a year ago.
    Better late than never I guess.

  • Unremarked here is DeSantis removing another popularly elected official (the DA in Orlando) over policy differences – he offered no specific violations which might justify this action, but as always, it’s not a Republican official or a Republican leaning jurisdiction, which leads to the obvious conclusion that this is further abuse of his office for partisan or personal political gain. Surely that is not what was intended by granting the governor the power to remove state officials. Even Republicans should get that this is not healthy, violates the principles of democracy (the DA was elected with 66% of the vote and the previously removed DA in Tampa had been elected twice), and is the clearest example of weaponizing government in the nation.

    If only Biden could remove him.

    By the way, the DA is a UF Law School Grad, taught there for 16 years, and worked specifically on research showing that diverting 1st time offenders for non-violent crimes from the usual “book ’em Dano” routines kept a high proportion from falling into that life style. That is preventing crime.

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