FEMA steps in to support Fort Lauderdale residents in the aftermath of devastating floods
Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Federal emergency response teams arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, following President Joe Biden’s authorization of a federal disaster declaration for Broward County in the wake of devastating floods.
The declaration enables residents to access a range of assistance measures, including temporary housing grants, low-cost loans for uninsured property damage, and additional support for individuals and businesses to recover from the disaster, according to a White House press release.
FEMA representatives canvassed the hardest-hit neighborhoods of Edgewood and Melrose Park in Fort Lauderdale, as well as other flood-stricken areas, offering guidance to residents on obtaining assistance. Agency spokesperson John Mills stated that FEMA might be able to provide direct financial support for essential home repairs, temporary relocation assistance, and replacement of personal property destroyed by flooding or storms.
Residents like Ramses Del Valle, who is still recovering from the disaster, expressed their struggles. “I am displaced, I have nothing but the clothes I have,” he shared. “We had to ask for handouts for school uniforms.”
Locals such as Tom Livingston sought answers from federal officials, applying for aid online. He acknowledged that while the assistance may not cover all costs, it would help: “Something is better than nothing.”
In addition to FEMA support, Governor Ron DeSantis announced $1.5 million in awards from the Florida Disaster Fund to aid flood recovery efforts in South Florida. Beneficiary organizations include Team Rubicon, The Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, Feeding South Florida, and The Broward Long Term Recovery Group.
For residents and business owners affected by the storm, FEMA’s disaster assistance website and the toll-free number 800-621-3362 provide further information. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has also activated a private sector hotline at 850-815-4925, available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., to assist businesses in storm recovery.
The Small Business Administration has made low-interest disaster loans available for impacted business owners, who are encouraged to apply under declaration #17901 on the SBA’s website. Additionally, the DEO has announced disaster unemployment assistance for those who lost employment or experienced interruptions due to the flooding. Eligibility information is accessible via the state’s website or by calling 800-385-3920.
Finally, the IRS has extended the tax filing deadline for those in the disaster area to August 15. The agency will automatically identify taxpayers in the affected region and apply filing and payment relief. If an eligible taxpayer receives a late filing or payment penalty notice, they are advised to call the number on the notice to have the IRS abate the penalty.