PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Michael slamming into Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Port Charlotte on Monday afternoon providing updates on Hurricane Ian recovery efforts.
He was joined by First Lady Casey DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie and Department of Economic Opportunity Dane Eagle.
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The governor spoke at the Charlotte County Disaster Recovery Center and pointed out the DRC now has five starlink internet services on site and people are able to make calls and use internet there.
DeSantis also announced that 8,000 unemployment assistance claims have been submitted and the DEO has activated a disaster recovery jobs portal aimed at helping connect businesses and individuals impacted by the storm with workforce programs.
He also mentioned the state was ready to award the first 2.5 million in loans from the The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan program to 55 small businesses in the state. The program provides short term, zero interest loans to businesses that were impacted by Hurricane Ian and 34 of the 55 awarded loans came from Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee and Sarasota counties, according to the governor.
“We now have a total of nine disaster recovery centers that increase the accessibility resources for residents across central and southwest Florida. All DRC sites are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. That’s 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exception of Lee County. Lee County has extended hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. These are one stop shops to provide residents with needed assistance to better help them understand the recovery process, but as the governor has said, You do not have to come here in person you can actually do FEMA registration online, ” said Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.
Guthrie also spoke about the Transitional Shelter Assistance Program, where qualified people can move out of shelters and into a hotel or motel paid for by FEMA in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties. Guthrie stressed that residents need to first be registered with FEMA before they can participate in the program.
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis warned Floridians about insurance schemes.
“As of today, insurance companies, since two weeks ago have already paid out $207 million worth of insurance claims already. So they are here, they’re doing their job. They’re writing checks. I just want to make sure every one of those dollars goes to you, not some predator who gets you to sign up for something you don’t realize what you’re signing.”
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