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Additional Hurricane Michael Recovery Aid Expected To Reach Panhandle Communities

Four men repair a damaged roof on a home
Valerie Crowder
Contractors replace a roof on a Panama City resident's home almost one year after Hurricane Michael devastated the region.

More dollars are gradually becoming available to aid communities recovering from Hurricane Michael.

Democratic state Senator Loranne Ausley of Quincy says state lawmakers are granting authority to the state Department of Emergency Management to release roughly $1.4 billion in federal aid to help reimburse communities for debris removal, emergency services, and building repairs.

“This money has been a long-time coming and it's very much needed and these communities need it now.”

Ausley says it still remains uncertain when the state will receive that money.

Additional recovery dollars will also likely get budgeted from state coffers this session, Ausley said. "But I don't know where that is in the budget at this moment, I'm trying to find that out."

Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced $22 million will waive requirements for local governments to match outside funding they receive, saving them some money.

DeSantis has also promised almost $5 million in funding to support construction and welding programs at Chipola College in Marianna and at Tallahassee Community College. He says training more people to assist in long-term recovery will offer some relief to the area.

"We look forward to bringing this additional relief to the region, as well as enhancing career and job opportunities for local residents through this training program."