$479M paid in homeowner assistance relief after Ian, Florida DEO secretary says

State issued more than California, Pennsylvania and Texas combined, Dane Eagle says

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle (right) speaks at a news conference in Marathon on Oct. 28, 2022. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle said roughly 25,000 Florida residents have received financial assistance from the Homeowner Assistance Fund so far — $479 million — topping “California, Pennsylvania Texas and New York combined” as swaths of the state continue to recover from Hurricane Ian.

In a phone call with News 6, Eagle said applications are still being reviewed on a case-by-case basis and money will be paid out until the funds “have been exhausted.”

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Eagle was also pleased with Florida’s unemployment numbers compared to the latest national figure of 3.7%.

While the state’s October figure will not be released for another 2 weeks, Eagle said the September unemployment figure of 2.5% hit the second lowest in history and should trend just slightly higher following Hurricane Ian.

“We are facing a booming recession and while other states are still recovering, we have recovered,” Eagle said. “We don’t know the future but we are doing better than any other of the 10 largest states.”

Eagle said his message to the Florida Council of 100 is to step up job creation.

“Many parts of the state are still recovering (from Hurricane Ian) including Southwest Florida... the more businesses reopen, the more workers have a chance to recover,” he said.

The DEO is continuing to work with News 6 and Make Ends Meet to help residents collect their unemployment benefits.

If you have an issue with the DEO, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com.

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About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.