TAX HOLIDAY Hurricane season is just around the corner- Already! Forecasters are predicting another busy storm season with a possibility of up to 17 named storms. So mark your calendars! The hurricane preparedness tax-free holiday for stocking up on batteries, tarps, generators and other hurricane items will be June 1st -7th. More details of what will be tax-free may be found here.
HURRICANE RECOVERY UPDATE Florida is still recovering from the series of hurricanes that hit the state over the last couple of years, particularly last fall’s Hurricane Irma. New estimates place insurances losses from that storm at $7.38 billion, down more than $600 million from a February estimate. The majority of the claims are for residential property.
The State submitted its action plan for $616 million allocated to Florida’s long-term recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The funding comes through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery program, which will be used to replace and repair damaged homes, build new affordable housing and provide grants to severely impacted businesses. HUD has 45 days to provide feedback or to approve the plan.
On May 17th, the U.S. Department of Education announced that the state will receive about $84.5 million as part of a federal program to help the nation’s schools recover from last year’s natural disasters.
Our neighbor to the south, Puerto Rico, was particularly devastated by Hurricane Maria causing many Puerto Rican residents to come to Florida to escape the damage. FEMA recently extended the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program until June 30th saying it will be the final extension. FEMA will offer transportation back to Puerto Rico for families who wish to return home. Since October, the agency has provided hotel rooms for more than 7,000 families and is continuing to help those in need find long-term housing solutions. There are roughly 1,000 still in Florida.