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Floridians line up for FEMA assistance

Sen. Bill Nelson discusses FEMA housing shortages in Jacksonville after Irma

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than 1 million Floridian homeowners and renters have registered for federal individual assistance following Hurricane Irma.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management reported that the daily number of applicants since Hurricane Irma exited the state Sept. 11 “is steadily increasing.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency program, available to residents in 48 counties, includes a wide range of assistance.

As of Thursday, nine counties each had more than 50,000 people register for individual assistance:

  • Miami-Dade, 203,832
  • Broward, 113,890
  • Orange, 65,694
  • Lee, 65,662
  • Pinellas, 60,132
  • Palm Beach, 55,248
  • Hillsborough, 52,630
  • Polk, 52,285
  • Duval, 50,932

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., stopped in Jacksonville Friday to talk about FEMA housing shortages. 

Across Florida, Nelson said, some people aren't getting the federal money they need to stay in a hotel or an apartment after Hurricane Irma. That's why he asked FEMA again Friday to speed up the process.

"When people are hurting like they are all over the state, it's never quick enough. FEMA will be there eventually for people," Nelson said. "The money we just appropriated -- $15 billion -- that's going to last a couple of weeks. In October, we're going to have to appropriate more money for all of these storms and once we do that, it will continue to keep going and we'll have to appropriate more."

Nelson added that FEMA still owes Duval County money from Hurricane Matthew. He said the agency is stretched thin because of Texas as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.