Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced that more than $44 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funding has been awarded to 11 communities that were impacted by Hurricane Irma, including Jacksonville.
The grant money is being awarded through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida Voluntary Home Buyout Program, which is designed to reduce the impact of future disasters.
“The recovery of Florida communities has been a priority since my first day in office,” said Gov. DeSantis. “This funding will help homeowners who suffered damage from Hurricane Irma recover while ensuring the communities they live in are more resilient to future disasters.”
Local governments can use the money to buy homes in high-risk flood areas that were damaged by Hurricane Irma, or to meet local match requirements for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which helps local governments make infrastructure or property more resilient.
“Hurricane Irma devastated Florida, and we have not forgotten those that were affected,” said Sen. Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island). “This funding will go a long way towards restoring and reviving the communities that received the most damage. I want to thank Gov. DeSantis and our federal partners for prioritizing hurricane recovery in our state.”
A voluntary home buyout program in Jacksonville’s South Shores neighborhood has more than 30 homeowners who have expressed at least preliminary interest.
“Rebuild Florida funds will be essential to protecting communities from future storms and disasters,” said Florida’s Chief Resilience Officer Dr. Julia Nesheiwat. “I commend the governor for his focus on resiliency and look forward to these funds making a significant impact.”