FEMA declines help for tornado damage in Lee County.




From the Sun Port Charlotte.  2/17/22 news report.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied assistance for victims of the tornadoes that ripped through several manufactured home parks in Charlotte and Lee counties Jan. 16.

“Based on our review of all the information available, it has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments and voluntary agencies,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell wrote in a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management will appeal the decision, the agency announced in a news release Wednesday.

“While we begin the decision appeal process, I want to reassure Floridians that the division is committed to supporting recovery efforts,” FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie stated. “We’ll continue to work with our local and federal partners to provide relief to impacted residents and ensure all types of disaster assistance is made available.”


This item is from the Tropicana Facebook page


This item is from a FEMA web site:    “In some disaster situations, FEMA will provide funds to repair or replace owner-occupied  homes that serve as the household’s primary residence.


Tropicana Forum:  Paul Goldfinger, MD  and Eileen Goldfinger, editors  2/17/22

We learned a lot about FEMA after the 2012 “perfect storm” Sandy hit the Jersey Shore including our town.  Public assistance is usually not available for properties damaged in storms or tornadoes when those properties are privately owned.  There are some exceptions, but usually private homes are declared ineligible for FEMA relief.  FEMA is mostly interested in rebuilding properties that serve the public good.   FEMA is designed to deal with large scale disasters.

The feds expect that our insurance would take care of the expenses.

For example, in a beach town, FEMA may offer money if the beach is demolished along with the boardwalk or public facilities such as ports for fishing fleets, water treatment plans, etc.  But our boardwalk is privately owned, and it took years to convince FEMA that our boardwalk is a public thoroughfare and deserved help for the benefit of our citizens

Remember Katrina?   There was massive destruction due to being in a flood plain, and homeowners did get some FEMA money and relief for the disaster phase and recovery.  FEMA will often buy such properties and then refuse to allow rebuilding.

When we were trying to obtain funds for our shore town, it was a very difficult process, and some decisions took months if not years.  It is possible to appeal, but that is tough.

Tropicana could try to elicit help from officials at the federal level, such as our  congressmen, but you need to make the case that the public good was effected, not a private community like ours where there are second  homes, retirement fun and games, recreational priorities, etc. In our case, even the Governor could not budge the feds.

This is simply not an event that is large enough and with sufficient public reasons to assist with public federal money.

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