TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced that the state will be putting $25 million toward an effort to help purchase building materials for homes damaged by Hurricane Ian.
The destructive hurricane walloped Southwest Florida and other areas after it came ashore Sept. 28, making temporary housing an issue for thousands of displaced residents.
The federal government has dispersed $3.1 billion so far in response to Hurricane Ian, Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas McCool said Friday. But DeSantis pointed to FEMA’s denial of one state request as a reason for providing the building-material funds.
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The state on Oct. 28 requested permission from FEMA to conduct "a limited, specific shelter-in-place mission, using verified volunteer labor, to include the purchasing of materials and equipment beyond tarps, plastic sheeting, and furring strips." FEMA denied the request in a Dec. 2 letter to state Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.
"Due to the limited authorities FEMA has to approve and pay for this type of work, as well as our inability to confirm that authorizing this policy expansion would achieve the intended outcomes for disaster survivors, your request is denied," the letter said.
The governor on Monday said the $25 million in state funds is designed to purchase materials that would be provided to nonprofit organizations to restore damaged homes. The funding is aimed at allowing purchases of things like sheetrock, studs, doors, and drywall, according to the governor.
"We’re not just going to sit there and take no for an answer. And so we’re going to figure out what we can do," DeSantis said at a press conference in Punta Gorda on Monday.