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FEMA working to open new recovery center in Jax before Nov. 24 deadline

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(Copyright 2017 CNN)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the Nov. 24 deadline for Hurricane Irma survivors to register for federal aid approaches, a Federal Emergency Management Agency is making arrangements to open a Disaster Recovery Center next week in Jacksonville. Details are expected to be announced next week.  

The new center will provide residents affected by Hurricane Irma with a final chance to speak with a FEMA representative one-on-one. 

Residents will be able to get answers to their questions, get help with any problems they are experiencing and get tips about the best rebuilding practices. 

They can also get information on the low-interest disaster recovery loans that are administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, talk to experts about flood insurance and talk to representatives from local and state agencies. 

People who have not yet registered with FEMA will be able to do so at the new center. 

Florida continues making efforts toward recovery from Hurricane Irma’s severe impact on the entire state -- spanning 65,755 square miles, from Pensacola on the west end of the Panhandle to Jacksonville on the east coast and south to Key West.

Affected communities and disaster survivors are repairing and rebuilding in ways that are better, stronger and safer with the help of neighbors, friends, family members, voluntary groups, faith and community-based organizations and local, county, state and federal governments.

Assistance to Floridians and their communities

Survivors in 48 of the 67 Florida counties are eligible to apply for help under FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program. All 67 counties in the state are eligible to receive federal funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance program for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.

In addition, local, county and state government infrastructure and certain private nonprofit organizations in 55 Florida counties became eligible to receive all categories of PA funding including the repair and rebuilding of certain eligible disaster-damaged facilities.

The Public Assistance Program program benefits everyone in the affected communities because essential services such as roads, utilities, schools and hospitals are restored. FEMA relieves burdens of local and county governments and the state by paying 75 percent of the eligible costs.

So far, more than 2.6 million Florida households have contacted FEMA for individual assistance help. The deadline for survivors to register for federal aid under the Individual Assistance Program is Nov. 24. To date, Floridians have received more than $1.5 billion through funding from FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the National Flood Insurance Program. Of that total, more than $899 million in FEMA individual assistance has gone to homeowners and renters whose insurance, or other forms of disaster assistance received, could not meet their disaster-caused needs. 

Homeowners, renters and businesses have received $388 million in 10,579 low-interest disaster loans from the SBA to repair, rebuild and replace damaged property and contents. The SBA offers low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.

FEMA officials said NFIP policyholders have received more than $239.5 million in more than 26,600 claims to repair and rebuild flood-damaged property.

  • More than 76,700 survivors have visited Disaster Recovery Centers, the first of which opened six days after the presidential disaster declaration.
  • More than 797,000 FEMA housing inspections have been completed.

Partners in Florida recovery efforts

Thousands of disaster recovery officials and volunteers continue to contact and interact with survivors and communities in various ways to help them recover. To meet the immediate needs of survivors, including helping to muck and gut homes and provide emotional and spiritual care, more than 300 voluntary agencies have logged more than 520,000 volunteer hours.

In an effort to help reduce further damage to property until permanent repairs can be made, 13,370 temporary roofs have been installed in Florida by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through Operation Blue Roof. The temporary covering of blue plastic sheeting is installed using strips of wood that are secured to the roof with nails or screws.

Thanks to a unified effort to mitigate pollution threats from boats displaced by Hurricane Irma, 1,492 sunken vessels have been recovered or removed from Florida waterways by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Environmental Protection Agency the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and private owners.

Floridians have received an estimated $1 million in disaster unemployment assistance if they lost work or are out of work due to Hurricane Irma. This dollar amount continues to increase to assist eligible applicants.

State officials reopened approximately 100 roads across Florida that were affected by the storm within two weeks after landfall. In addition, local power crews and crews brought in from across the U.S. and Canada restored 99.9 percent of power to 12 million customers in Florida within two weeks after the storm.