DBPR waives fees if existing businesses must move – FEMA and SBA add counties eligible for disaster aid – Royal Palm Coast Realtors help SW Fla. members.

ORLANDO, Fla. – After a hurricane, help can come from many people and organizations. For an overview of all options, visit Florida Realtors®’ Hurricane Ian Resources website page.

Recent updates include:

DBPR waives application fees

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has waived application fees for relocating and reopening businesses and branch offices in many areas impacted by Hurricane Ian.

DBPR Secretary Melanie Griffin signed an Executive Order on Wednesday that explains the rules and areas where the change applies.

FEMA assistance

Nineteen Florida counties now qualify for Hurricane Ian aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  • Charlotte
  • Collier
  • DeSoto
  • Flagler
  • Hardee
  • Highlands
  • Hillsborough
  • Lake
  • Lee
  • Manatee
  • Orange
  • Osceola
  • Pinellas
  • Polk
  • Putnam
  • Sarasota
  • Seminole
  • St. Johns
  • Volusia

County residents can apply for FEMA help through disasterassistance.gov, by calling (800) 621-3362  7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, or using the FEMA mobile appClick here to learn more. 

SBA disaster loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans are also available to Florida businesses and residents in the expanded counties included in the Hurricane Ian disaster declaration.

Applicants may apply at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov under declaration #17644. For help, call (800) 659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.

HUD announces waiver to help recovery

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calls its list of waivers to speed Hurricane Ian recovery, “One of the largest collections of regulatory and administrative waivers issued by HUD at one time.”

HUD announced a package of 29 regulatory and administrative waivers, which builds on other support HUD is providing.

  • The regulatory and administrative relief announced cover the following HUD programs: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME)
  • Housing Trust Fund (HTF)
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)
  • Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)
  • Continuum of Care (CoC)

HUD says state and local partners access a waiver through a simplified notification process that includes:

  • Disrupted communications networks: HUD is waiving its normal communication requirements and allowing grantees to determine what constitutes reasonable notice and opportunity to comment.
  • Suspended CDBG rules: To accelerate new housing construction, HUD is suspending normal rules to enable CDBG grantees to replace affordable housing units lost as a result of severe weather.
  • Suspend cap limiting CDBG expenditures: HUD will suspend a cap limiting CDBG expenditures for public services to 15%, and temporarily allow CDBG grantees to pay for additional support services for individuals and families affected by Hurricane Ian. Services could include, but not be limited to, food, emergency shelter, case management and related services to help residents in declared-disaster areas recover.

Royal Palm Coast Realtor® Association relief efforts

The Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association (RPCRA) serves some of Florida’s hardest-hit areas, and it issued a statement saying, “Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the catastrophic devastation caused by Hurricane Ian.”

RPCRA Leadership started to provide resources as soon as the storm ended, including a pop-up distribution center at the RPCRA Fort Myers Education Center located at 4081 Center Pointe Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33916, to collect donations that “will provide some supply relief to our community as well as business service access for those needing to connect to Wi-Fi and enjoy air conditioning.” It opened on Wednesday, Oct. 5 and will remain so until further notice. It’s open  Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

“We will continue working with our local governance, fellow Realtor associations and nonprofits to offer relief and recovery to our community as best as we can,” says Bill Steinke, 2022 president of RPCRA.

RPCRA list of resources 

  • Rentals: RPCRA, and local realtor® associations, are building a safe platform for the community to access rentals for temporary housing in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Bonita Springs, and Marco Island. The website, HurricaneHomes.org will be available in the coming days and provides listings for housing whose properties have been vetted as reliable, safe, and clean. The listings are given by licensed realtors® in the area. RPCRA urges the community to be careful when contacting listings from Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace as they may be fraudulent.
  • Matrix inventory: RPCRA encourages all realtors® to add their rental inventory to Matrix as a starting point for more inventory options for displaced residents that will roll over to theHurricaneHomes.org website.
  • RV and storage: Effective October 4, 2022, the City of Cape Coral has suspended RV and storage ordinances for 180 days. This will allow residents to live in their RV on their property with no penalty. RPCRA is working with Lee County and the City of Fort Myers for those jurisdictions to allow the same.
  • Realtor licensing: Governor DeSantis approved an extension of the September license renewal through Oct. 31, 2022.

RPCA also offers a list of local resources:

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Author: marlam