Hurricane Idalia recovery information for Floridians — plus info for St. Pete residents

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Hurricane Idalia
Street flooding in Gulfport, Florida from Hurricane Idalia storm surge. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (30 Aug. 2023)

By Riley Hazel, Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) Storm Center for WMNF

IdaliaEmergencyInfo

Following Idalia’s impacts, the Florida Division of Emergency Management wants to ensure Florida residents have all the information necessary to recover.

Individuals are encouraged to apply for FEMA assistance and continue to sort through storm debris.

FDEM Deputy Communications Director Amelia Johnson says that there is a variety of resources available through FEMA. Johnson recommends inspecting your home for damage and then calling your insurance provider.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has provided a comprehensive directory of recovery information at https://www.floridadisaster.org/updates/. Here are some points of emphasis.

Recovery Centers

The State of Florida and FEMA opened a Disaster Recovery Center in Dixie County today to assist to people affected by Hurricane Idalia. The center will remain open until further notice. Appointments are not necessary.

Disaster Recovery Centers provide information from state agencies, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Visitors can get help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available and receive updates on applications.

The Dixie County Disaster Recovery Center is located at the Dixie County Public Library. It is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Sunday. More centers will begin opening in the coming days.

In addition to visiting a center, people can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov, using the FEMA mobile app or calling 800-621-3362, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET every day to receive help.

Individual Assistance

FEMA provides assistance to eligible families and individuals affected by a disaster who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs. Individual Assistance may include renting temporary housing, repairing uninsured or underinsured homes and other disaster-caused expenses. 14 counties are approved for Individual Assistance:

  • Citrus
  • Columbia
  • Dixie
  • Gilchrist 
  • Hamilton
  • Hernando
  • Jefferson
  • Lafayette
  • Levy
  • Madison
  • Pasco
  • Pinellas
  • Suwannee
  • Taylor

Critical Needs Assistance

FEMA may provide financial assistance to Hurricane Idalia applicants who have immediate needs because of displacement. Immediate or critical needs are lifesaving items, which include water, food, first aid supplies, prescriptions, baby formula, diapers, medical equipment, personal hygiene products, and fuel for transportation. Critical Needs Assistance is a one-time $700 payment per household.

Floridians who sustained loss from Hurricane Idalia and live in Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Pasco, Pinellas, Suwannee or Taylor counties may be eligible for FEMA grants for temporary lodging, basic home repairs, personal property losses and other eligible expenses.

Clean and Sanitize Assistance

Homes that were damaged by Hurricane Idalia but are still livable may be eligible for a one-time financial assistance from FEMA to help with cleanup. There are qualifications to be eligible to apply.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance is available to Florida businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Idalia. Applicants must live in the FEMA-designated disaster-impacted area. Eligible Floridians can submit a claim at www.FloridaJobs.org

All applications and more information on eligibility is available at www.floridadisaster.org

Next steps and cleanup

After applying for FEMA assistance, you may receive notification letters from FEMA either by mail or electronically. Be sure to have contact up-to-date contact information on file. FEMA may need to perform home inspections or get additional information.

To expedite the debris removal process, FDEM recommends keeping piles separated into six categories: vegetative debris, hazardous waste, construction debris, household garbage, large appliances and electronics.

Never place debris near other trees, structures or downed powerlines. Do not burn waste, as it can create additional safety hazards. Instead, place piles near a curb and do not block the road.

Avoid displaced wildlife and contact local animal control. If returning from a shelter, do not enter a damaged home if you smell gas, floodwater remains around the building or authorities have not cleared the area.

Since Idalia made landfall last Wednesday, 96% of power has been restored, according to a press release from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

FDEM continues to release updates on Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts on their social channels and online.

Information from St. Petersburg

Below is information provided by the City of St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, FL (Sept. 6, 2023) – The City of St. Petersburg continues Hurricane Idalia recovery efforts this week. Storm debris collection begins and temporary housing options are available, including Emergency Housing Resources through FEMA for those with inhabitable homes.
Debris Pick Up

The City of St. Petersburg will begin collecting storm debris in flood-impacted neighborhoods on Thursday, September 7. The City is asking residents who would like their debris to place their separate their debris and place on the curb. If residents have items that they need to keep for insurance or other purposes, they should keep them on private property and make sure they are not on the curb or right of way.

If you would like debris picked up, follow these guidelines:

What We’re Picking Up – The City of St. Petersburg will be picking up the following types of debris in flood impacted areas:

Construction and demolition (C&D) debris

  • Fencing Materials – fences knocked over during the storm
  • Construction Materials – building materials, carpet, drywall, furniture, lumber, plumbing White goods (appliances and furniture)
  • Appliances – air conditioners, dishwashers, washers and dryers, stoves, refrigerators, water heaters
  • Electronics – computers, televisions, and other devices Hazardous materials
  • Batteries, cleaning supplies, paints, pesticides, oils, compressed gas

Debris Placement – If your debris is placed in the below location, that indicates to City crews that it’s ready to be picked up. If it’s not ready for pick up, please keep on your private property.

  • Place debris in front of the house near the roadway curb.
  • DO NOT place debris near trees, poles, fire hydrants, utility boxes, or other structures that make debris removal difficult.
  • DO NOT place debris in alleyways or on sidewalks.
  • DO NOT place debris in the street or block roadways.

Vegetative debris – Vegetative debris from the storm should be placed in resident’s trash bin for regularly scheduled pick up. If it does not fit, please call 727-893-7398 and schedule a special pick up.

Emergency Housing Resources

Resources are available for St. Pete residents impacted by Hurricane Idalia.

American Red Cross Shelter

In cooperation with Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg, the American Red Cross has opened a shelter at Allendale United Methodist Church for anyone in Pinellas who needs a safe place to stay after Hurricane Idalia.

Allendale United Methodist Church
3803 Haines Rd. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33703

More information at stpete.org/hurricane.

Recreational Vehicles & Travel Trailers

Mayor Ken Welch is authorizing the on-site use of recreational vehicles and travel trailers on residential lots for residents in flood-impacted neighborhoods. For the next six months, the City of St. Petersburg will suspend issuing fines, citations, and penalties related to this specific sheltering and housing plan for residents who have been displaced by Hurricane Idalia.

More information at stpete.org/hurricane.

FEMA Financial Assistance

Residents impacted by Hurricane Idalia may be eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) financial assistance for temporary lodging, basic home repairs, personal property losses, and other uninsured disaster-related expenses.

For more information or to apply, visit DisasterAssistance.gov, download the FEMA App, or call toll-free 800-621-3362.

For additional assistance, St. Pete residents in adversely affected areas can contact Helen Rhymes, Social Services Planning Manager, at [email protected] or 727-893-4149 for additional assistance.

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