Northeast Florida cities, counties among 11 local governments awarded money for home buyouts

Grant intended to help owners of homes damaged in Hurricane Irma

Flooding in Pirates Cove during Irma

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida has awarded more than $44 million to 11 local governments to purchase Hurricane Irma-damaged properties in high-risk flood areas, according to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office.

The federal Community Development Block Grant money is intended to help owners of homes damaged by the September 2017 Category 4 storm and communities bracing for future disasters.

The money was awarded through the state Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida Voluntary Home Buyout Program.

The money can be used by local governments to purchase homes from “willing” sellers, according to information from the governor’s office. Also, local governments can use the money to apply for matching grants for infrastructure or property improvements that reduce risks of harm from disasters.

“This funding will help homeowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Irma recover while ensuring the communities they live in are more resilient to future disasters,” DeSantis said in a prepared statement.

Monroe County, where Hurricane Irma made initial landfall, will get $15 million, while the city of Marathon will receive $5 million and Islamorada will get $208,052. The Clay County Department of Emergency Management will get $5 million, while the city of Orange Park will receive more than $3.17 million. The cities of Jacksonville and Bonita Springs are each slated to receive $5 million. Miami-Dade County is in line for just over $4.52 million, while the city of Palm Bay will get $684,179, Columbia County will get $281,968 and Flagler County will receive $245,570.