Tue, Jun 21, 2022 1:06 PM
By Bethany Blankley, The Center Square
More than $28.4 million in grants have been awarded to 23 communities to support economic growth through state-funded Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs, including a Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program designed to help those impacted by Hurricane Michael.
The funding comes as the state continues preparations for this year’s hurricane season, which is already underway.
“Supporting the growth and resilience of Florida communities is the best way to ensure Florida’s strong future,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “Investments made today will provide 23 communities with access to the resources they need to diversify their economies, increase public safety, and mitigate future risks.”
The CDBG program, administered by DEO, primarily benefits low- and moderate-income residents. The grants help fund workforce housing, training, and sustainability, broadband infrastructure and planning.
“The funds will connect communities to opportunities that suit their unique needs and foster generational growth for their residents,” Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle said.
Seventeen communities received funding through the CDBG program. Stuart received the most of $4.79 million, followed by Alachua County’s $4 million, Leon County’s $3.6 million, Coleman’s $1.77 million, Lake City’s $2 million, Green Cove Springs’ $1.39 million, Wausau’s $3.8 million, New Port Richey’s nearly $974,000, Vernon’s $987,566, Fort Lauderdale’s $906,501, Apopka’s $800,000, Hollywood’s $760,335, West Palm Beach’s $567,974, Homestead’s $502,061, Village of Indiantown’s $342,390, Mary Esther’s $324,000, and Macclenny’s $291,000.
Three counties and three cities received funding through the Rebuild Florida Hazard Mitigation Grant Match Program, administered by DEO. It funds the local community’s match portion of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program awards, administered by the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Funds will support recovery efforts in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael.
County grant recipients include Gulf County ($1,039,184), Jackson County ($367,364), and Liberty County ($115,116). City recipients include Marianna ($474,000), Mexico Beach ($601,408), and Panama City ($492,428).
The DOE’s ReBuild Florida is continuing to help homeowners, small businesses and communities with long-term recovery efforts from recent hurricanes and storms. It’s providing housing repair and replacement programs for homeowners impacted by Hurricane Irma and Michael. It’s also providing grant programs for local communities for Hurricanes Irma, Michael, Matthew, and Sally, as well as loans for small businesses and workforce recovery and training programs.
To prepare for hurricane season, residents are encouraged to have predefined emergency plans and keep an emergency supply kit ready and stocked, the Florida Department of Emergency Management says.
“Keeping a fully stocked disaster supply kit with at least 7 days of supplies for each family member, including pets, is an essential component of disaster preparedness,” FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie said.
FloridaDisaster.org is encouraging residents to know if they live in an evacuation zone, a low-lying, flood-prone area and if their homes have the ability to withstand strong winds and heavy rain, and to have a family disaster plan in place.
Residents are also encouraged to have a list of important items and documents, ensure their insurance policies are up to date and what coverage they provide, and have nonperishable items on hand, including canned goods.
Every county has a designated emergency management program residents are encouraged to contact to receive the most up-to-date information.