Orange County has been declared an emergency zone in the wake of Hurricane Ian, allowing access to federal assistance for rebuilds, repairs and replacements. But many residents and business owners find themselves in unfamiliar territory when attempting to locate resources, and while navigating the application process.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are two resources offering assistance and reimbursement for expenses not covered by insurance.
FEMA individual and household assistance includes reimbursement for temporary housing and major repairs including structural and electrical work, and the repair or replacement of well and septic systems.
Residents can apply at DisasterAssistance.gov or from the FEMA mobile app. Applicants can also call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362.
Have the following information available when applying for assistance:
- Social Security number
- Annual household income
- Contact information: phone number, mailing address, email address, and the address of the damaged residence
- Insurance information
- Bank account information (to deposit funds)
Winter Park Mayor Phil Anderson, during a Sept. 30 City Commission workshop, expressed a desire to help residents with the application process.
City Manager Randy Knight said that a team, in cooperation with Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, will be assembled to assist residents in requesting storm damage assistance. Residents will be informed when plans are in place.
Currently, a list of local water remediation companies and additional information on applying for FEMA assistance can be found on the City of Winter Park website. Click here to view the page.
Home and property loans for losses that are not fully covered by insurance are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Residents can apply for low-interest, long-term loans of up to $200,000 to help with repairs or replacements. Funds cannot be used for upgrades unless required by building codes.
Applicants may also be eligible for up to $40,000 to replace damaged or destroyed personal property including clothing, furniture, appliances, and cars.
The SBA also offers low-interest, long-term loans of up to $2 million to large and small businesses, and to nonprofits. Funds can be used for structural and real estate repairs, and to fix or replace machinery, equipment, inventory, and other assets.
Click here to access the SBA disaster loan assistance web page. Applicants will need to set up an account and choose the type of disaster loan (personal property, business, or economic injury) that best suits their needs.
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, applicants should apply under SBA declaration #17644. Applicants can also call 1-800-659-2955, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.