South Floridians have 1 day left to apply for Irma assistance

By Layron Livingston - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - When Hurricane Irma hit South Florida, Hilda Hall was uninsured. 

"My roof is in total disrepair," Hall said. "There [are] holes in the ceiling -- a lot of damage to my house."

Hall said there are still blue tarps on the roof of her southwest Miami-Dade home more than a year after the storm.

"People don't realize it takes many years for a community to recover," Hall said. "When you're in this situation, it's a depression that comes over you because each day that you come back home, it's like you relive it over and over again."

Hall said she is a lot more optimistic these days. Not only did she register for the Rebuild Florida program, but she's been knocking on doors in her neighborhood to make sure other homeowners know there's help for them.

Last fall, former Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera was in Fort Lauderdale for the launch of one of nine Rebuild Florida offices. The program offers assistance to Floridians to help repair or rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Irma. 

"We want to ensure that anyone that deserves and is entitled to this assistance, will get it," Lopez-Cantera said.

Rebuild Florida is an arm of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Through a partnership with the housing and urban development department, seniors, along with those who meet certain income requirements, can apply for and receive help.

"This isn't just money that is going out to anybody that'll ask for it," Lopez-Cantera said. "It's targeted toward the most vulnerable in our communities."

HUD identified Brevard, Broward, Collier, Duval, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Orange, Polk and Volusia counties as the hardest hit by the storm. Nearly $1.5 billion was set aside for the assistance program.  

The state department of economic opportunity said it received a great response since the program launched in September, with 1,206 registrations in Monroe County, 1,915 in Miami-Dade and 1,013 Broward.

But they want to make sure as many people as possible are helped.

"I just feel like I am going to be restored," Hall said. "I'll be able to go back and get out of this funk."

Residents can still register, but the deadline is Friday.

You can register online at www.rebuildflorida.org, or by phone by calling 844-833-1010. If you'd like to register in person with a program representative, there are Rebuild Florida centers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties. 

BROWARD COUNTY

Next to CareerSource Broward

2680 West Oakland Park Blvd.,
Fort Lauderdale

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

6405 NW 36th St., Suite 100

Miami

MONROE COUNTY

State of Florida Office Building, second floor

2796 Overseas Hwy., Suite 219-A,

Marathon

Click here for more information. 

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