"Unfortunately, we got word last week that FEMA had denied our request for funding our state-led housing initiatives, citing their quote 'limited authority,'" DeSantis said during an announcement in Southwest Florida, the region where Hurricane Ian made landfall.
"We're not just gonna sit there and take no for an answer," he said, "we're gonna figure out what we can do."
"We wanna cut through bureaucracy," he continued, "we wanna bring relief to impacted Floridians, regardless of whether FEMA wants to be a part of that."
FEMA responded to DeSantis' request in a December 2 letter, saying "Due to the limited authorities FEMA has to approve and pay for this type of work, as well as our inability to confirm that authorizing this policy expansion would achieve the intended outcomes for disaster survivors, your request is denied."
DeSantis said that $25 million provided through state funds would be used to purchase building materials, which would then be provided to "verified nonprofit organizations to restore damaged homes to livable conditions."
His priority is to as quickly as possible allow Floridians to "move back into their own homes."
Hurricane Ian slammed into Southwestern Florida on September 28, 2022, causing an estimated $50 billion in damages, surpassing Hurricane Irma as the costliest Hurricane in Florida's history.
On top of the just-announced $25 million, the Florida Disaster Fund, spearheaded by Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis and established before Ian made landfall, has so far raised over $57 million, of which just over $35 million will go to support the state's home repair program.
The First Lady said that 17 thoroughly vetted non-profits will be receiving emergency funds to help rebuild the state.
"It’s not a government go-at it alone. It's really everybody uniting for the benefit of everybody here who were affected by the hurricane," she said. "We're not stopping, I know there's a lot more money that can be raised."
Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, Kevin Guthrie, said that in his more than 30 years of experience, he has never seen a faster response to an emergency than response to Hurricane Ian by Florida under the governorship of DeSantis.
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