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Governor Expedites Hurricane Michael Recovery Funds

The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expediting money for debris removal in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. DeSantis also wants the U.S. government to take on a bigger share of the recovery costs.

DeSantis wants the Department of Emergency Management to streamline the reimbursement process. He says that will let local governments get up to 50 percent of their debris removal funding requests up front. Hurricane Michael left behind more than 20 million cubic square yards of debris. In comparison, the much larger Hurricane Irma, caused less than 3 million cubic square yards of debris. The governor says he’s dedicated to seeing the region recover.

“I’m committed to help rebuilding northwest Florida. I want to do whatever I can to help a community that really deserves credit for how they bounced back and how resilient they’ve been in the face of a very difficult situation,” DeSantis said.

The governor also wants to ask President Donald Trump to provide more help from the federal level to cover the cost of cleanup.

Desantis told the media, “I am going to talk to the president about increasing the share of FEMA reimbursable. I think that this warrants it. Obviously there’s a lot of stuff going on in Washington right now, it’s not the best of times, but I think that that would be very good for the local community.”

The president could increase the cost-share from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to 90 percent. That means local governments would not have to cover so much of the expense.

Meanwhile FEMA Administrator Brock Long says debris cleanup isn’t the only focus.

"We understand that housing is an ongoing issue as well and housing is incredibly complex. You try to first move people out of shelters into places that you can rent into hotels,” Long said.

Long says finding housing is difficult because so many are damaged or destroyed. In the meantime, officials plan to bring in travel trailers and manufactured homes.

Blaise Gainey is a State Government Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.