Federal Money Is Available To Help With Hurricane Recovery But Not Everyone Who Needs It Can Get It

Nov 6, 2019

Thousands of Homes, like these in Mexico Beach, were destroyed by Hurricane Michael. That means many residents moved away, leaving local governments to pick up the pieces with significantly diminished tax base.
Credit Erich Martin

Florida’s Director of Emergency Management says finding local money to match federal funds is one of the biggest issues facing communities after Hurricane Michael.

Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz there are millions of dollars available for hurricane recovery. But, he says there's one problem: "None of that is going to be drawn down by these cities and counties if we don’t come up with a cost share program for them.”

The communities impacted by the storm were largely rural and poor. Moskowitz says that makes coming up with the matching funds many federal programs require, difficult.

“Bay County can handle it, but outside of Bay County, the cities in Bay County and the rural counties don’t have the 25% match to drawn down on the cost share. And we can’t leave, almost in my opinion, what could be a billion dollars on the table.”

Moskowtiz says he thinks that’s one of reasons recovery has been slower. He is asking the legislature to create a cost share program for fiscally constrained cities and counties. His office is also partnering with local governments to help them write applications or create needed frameworks to draw down federal money needed now.