Orange County residents whose homes were damaged by the passing of Hurricane Irma may be eligible for federal disaster assistance. With the hurricane's impact still being felt far and wide across Central Florida, FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency
— has moved to provide Individual Aid to the residents of several local counties.
Previously intended only for a chain of counties on Florida's southern Gulf shore, the 21 counties receiving Individual Aid now include Polk, Flagler, Brevard, Volusia, Seminole, Osceola and Orange counties.
If your home, vehicle, boat or other property was damaged due to Hurricane Irma, you may qualify for aid.
Requests can be completed on FEMA's Disaster Assistance website
, by calling 1-800-621-3362, or by downloading the FEMA mobile app. Submissions are followed by a over-the-phone discussion of the request and an on-site inspection.
FEMA's disaster aid comes in a variety of forms, including grants, low-interest loans, temporary rental assistance, unemployment payments, small business loans and crisis counseling. Note that, by law, FEMA assistance cannot cover expenses already paid for by your insurance.
In a letter to President Trump urging the inclusion of other Central Florida counties to the list of those eligible for FEMA Individual Aid assistance, Florida Representative Darren Soto said, "Given that the eye of the storm turned more eastern than expected and crossed over Central Florida, these counties experienced several hours of hurricane force winds, and should receive prompt consideration and approval for individual assistance."
The letter was also signed by Representatives Stephanie Murphy, Thomas Rooney, and Val Demings.
According to The Orlando Sentinel
, County Appraiser Rick Singh estimated Orange County's total damages from Hurricane Irma to be $24.86 million.