South Florida homeowners begin applying for disaster relief after Hurricane Irma

More than 140,000 FEMA claims submitted by Tuesday afternoon


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The uninsured and under-insured gathered Tuesday at Miami Gardens City Hall to fill out an application for disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"It's important to have insurance, but it's not everyone that affords insurance, especially for someone who has already paid for their home. Many times they don't have insurance," homeowner Doreen Foster said. 

Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties are part of the 37 counties in the state where people are eligible for federal aid.

FEMA's flood insurance director put the number of claims so far north of 140,000.

"One of my bedrooms has a big hole. I can look at the sky. Me and grandkids’ stuff got messed up -- wet," homeowner Mary Mcray said.

Homeowners can get up to $33,000 for repairs not covered by insurance, including work on a home's foundation, wall or roof.

It'll cover the cost of replacing windows, doors, floors, wells and ceilings, as well as the cost of repairing a damaged septic, sewage and water system and an air conditioning system.

The grants could also help pay for temporary housing.

"She told me that I could get a check in the next two to three weeks," Foster said.

FEMA expects the number of flooding claims to skyrocket in the coming weeks, with claims totals in the state greater than Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"The expectation folks should have is that we're going to fulfill our part of the commitment," FEMA Director of Flooding Roy Wright said. "I've got 1,000 adjusters already on site here working. That number is going to continue to grow."