Hurricane Ian Recovery Resources

Resources To Help Your Business Get Back On It’s Feet


Ian Updates From The Town of Fort Myers Beach

This contains extensive information on many helpful subjects for both residents and businesses on Fort Myers Beach. See it here.


Ian Relief Supply Distribution

We have several groups dropping supplies and necessities to the Island Carts FMB Warehouse for distribution. The distribution center is open from 10-4 Monday through Saturday. We are closed on Sundays. Location: 820 Buttonwood, Fort Myers Beach 33931.


Lee County Human & Veteran Services App.

Get assistance at your fingertips! Lee County Human and Veteran Services recently launched the HVS Reach app to provide easier access to information and resources for individuals facing homelessness.

Users can apply for help with rent, electric, water, housing rehab and down payment assistance, find local food pantries, stay informed on department happenings and more. Search for HVS Reach in the Apple or Google Play store to download today.


Relief fund assessments begin

If you are a hospitality worker impacted by Hurricane Ian and need assistance, please complete the Hurricane Ian Hospitality Employee Assessment form hosted by United Way.

This is the first step in determining your eligibility for relief fund assistance and other available resources. The hospitality industry includes accommodations, attractions, restaurants, tour guides and other tourism-related services.

Please share this form with your employees and co-workers.


Debris Removal

FDEM Debris Removal

Lee County residents can now apply for debris removal services on their property by using the website: iandebriscleanup.com. You can also call 850-961-2002 for more information. This debris removal includes displaced and abandoned vehicles, vessels, and other titled property from qualifying private and commercial properties, as well as waterways throughout Lee County.

Holiday Debris Removal

In the midst of all the chaos going on, Holiday Water Sports has decided to temporarily recreate ourselves! Introducing Holiday Debris Removal, LLC. We created this new company specifically to help keep our local beach employees employed. It is our mission to provide jobs for as many beach staff members as we can, for as long as we can. We can only succeed if the Fort Myers Beach residents and businesses hire our staff. We believe hiring local companies and keeping local residents employed during this time is absolutely essential to the future success of Fort Myers Beach. We are available to clean out houses and businesses and tear out drywall etc. We are not a demolition company, but will be happy to refer you to a great local company if you need that service. We can also refer excellent local building contractors. We have been in business on Fort Myers Beach for over 30 years. We have worked with some of the best resorts on the island and will continue to provide excellent customer service to our new customers. We are new to this job, but we are not new to running a good business! If you need our service, please call Sharon at 239-707-8261.

Drop-Off Sites

Public drop-off sites for vegetative and structural debris are available. For more information, visit the debris removal website.

Two of the public drop-off sites for Hurricane Ian storm debris are scheduled to close at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9:

Brooks Park Site, 50 South Road, Fort Myers
Mosquito Control Site, 1840 Gunnery Road, Lehigh Acres

Curb Collection

Storm debris is collected separately from household garbage. Storm debris assessment is already underway throughout the county collections will begin in the next few days, giving residents time to get storm debris to the curb. Here are some tips.

  • Most Important – Please set storm debris at the curb away from your normal household trash and recycling; it will be collected and documented separately.
  • Place storm debris at the curb in three separate piles: garbage, yard waste and building debris. Federal Emergency Management Agency rules require documentation of the volume and type of debris collected to reimburse the county for storm cleanup.
  • Garbage must be placed in a 40-gallon can or heavy mil plastic bag each weighing no more than 50 pounds. If you have a larger county-provided container for automated garbage collection, you may use that as well.
  • Yard waste does not need to be bundled after the storm. Place it in piles that can easily be managed by collection personnel with a claw truck.
  • To expedite collection, do not place anything beneath low-hanging obstacles like trees or power lines or near things like fire hydrants or mailboxes.
  • Food must be removed from any appliance set at the curb. Inedible food should be placed with the garbage.

Legal Assistance

Florin Roebig Trial Attorneys

Hurricane Ian has left major damage across many areas of Florida near the Gulf of Mexico. Homeowners who have sustained property damage may need the help of the local law firm of Florin Roebig.

Legal Hurricane Claim Insurance Help

Chamber member and Fort Myers Beach resident attorney Monica Schmucker, along with one of her partners Peter Kamm, are litigation attorneys at Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. They are assisting Fort Myers Beach residents with insurance claims, helping guide clients through the claim process — everything from answering questions to filing a claim on your behalf, if necessary. They may be reached by email [email protected] or [email protected], or by phone at 239-344-1100. With over 55 attorneys, Henderson Franklin has served the legal needs and communities of Southwest Florida since 1924. To learn more, visit henlaw.com.

Free Legal Help Hotline

A free legal help hotline is now available for Hurricane Ian victims in the affected counties that include Polk. The hotline is available to connect residents to free legal services in qualifying counties that cannot afford an attorney. Residents can call (866) 550-2929 or click this link.


US Chamber of Commerce

Call us if you need any assistance after the hurricane. The U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Disaster Help Desk team has advised thousands of small businesses around the country.  You can call 1-888-MY-BIZ-HELP (888-692-4943) to speak with an expert.


State Assistance Information Line

The State Assistance Information Line (SAIL) is a toll-free hotline activated at the time of an emergency to provide an additional resource for those in Florida to receive accurate and up-to-date information regarding an emergency or disaster situation impacting Florida. SAIL hotline: 800-342-3557


SCORE FREE Business Mentoring

It may feel overwhelming to get your business through a disaster, but don’t feel like you have to go it alone. SCORE is here to help. You can contact us to request a free business mentor that can help you assess your current position and work with you to develop a recovery plan.

Get your free mentor today at www.score.org/find-mentor or call 800-634-0245.


Florida Department Of Economic Opportunity

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Ian. Survey responses will allow the state to expedite Hurricane Ian recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses.

DEO is updating www.FloridaDisaster.biz with real-time information for business owners, families, and employees throughout the preparation, response and recovery phases of Hurricane Ian.


US Small Business Administration

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to businesses and residents in Florida following the announcement of a Presidential disaster declaration due to Hurricane Ian.

Businesses and private nonprofit (PNP) organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets. For PNP’s the interest rate is 1.875 percent, with terms up to 30 years. Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA, for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump or French drain to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster. The deadline to apply is Jan. 12 for physical damages that occurred from Sept. 23 through Nov. 4 due to Hurricane Ian.

The SBA also offers  Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to help meet working capital needs, such as ongoing operating expenses for PNP organizations.  EIDL assistance is available regardless of whether the organization suffered any physical property damage.

PNP organizations are urged to contact their municipality’s Emergency Manager to provide information about their organization. The information will be submitted to FEMA to determine eligibility for a Public Assistance grant or whether the PNP should be referred to SBA for disaster loan assistance. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ and should apply under SBA declaration # 17667.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/  and should apply under SBA declaration # 17644.

Please refer also to this Fact Sheet and Disaster Loan Checklist. You may also find this SBA Hurricane Ian Disaster Business Recovery Webinar helpful.

Business Recovery Centers

The Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) opened a Business Recovery Center (BRC) at SWFL Inc. at 25071 Chamber of Commerce Drive, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Hours are 9am to 5pm Monday thru Saturday.

A second Business Recovery Center has been opened at the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral at 360 Santa Barbara Blvd. S., Cape Coral, FL 33991. Hours are 8am to 6pm Monday thru Thursday.

The BRC’s will provide assistance with the following programs:

  • SBA Physical Disaster Loan
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
  • Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program

Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan

Governor Ron DeSantis Activates the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, Making $50 Million Available – At Least $10 Million of Which Must Go to Assist Agricultural Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Ian.

Florida’s small business owners in need of assistance can now apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program at www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL.

Marine Fisheries Industry sole proprietors with businesses located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties that are interested in applying for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program are required to provide documentation demonstrating the business is part of the Marine Fisheries Industry.

Please refer to this Fact Sheet for help.


FEMA

For Nicole

At Governor DeSantis’ request, FEMA has approved an Emergency Declaration for Tropical Storm Nicole. FEMA Public Assistance Category B (emergency protective measures) has been approved for Lee county.

Floridians impacted by Hurricane Nicole in need of assistance with recovery efforts such as cutting fallen trees, removing drywall or flooring, roof tarping and mold mitigation can contact the Crisis Cleanup line at 1-800-451-1954. Crisis Cleanup will be open through Friday, November 25.

Applying For Assistance

Disaster victims can obtain additional information and apply for disaster assistance through FEMA in various ways. A toll-free number has been established by FEMA for disaster victims to apply for certain types of disaster programs and obtain information about others. You can obtain information by calling. Phone: (800) 621-FEMA (3362) – Website: www.fema.gov. You can also refer to this Q&A About FEMA Disaster Assistance or this webinar Hurricane Recovery Projects and Doing Business With FEMA.

Direct Housing Assistance

FEMA has activated Direct Housing Assistance for households impacted by Ian in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto & Lee counties. FEMA will determine eligibility based on several factors.

Preparing Your Land For A Temporary Housing Unit

  • Site must be clear of debris and accessible
  • Must have electrical, water, and sewer service available on site
  • Select a spot that is compact, sturdy and has good drainage. If using a cement slab, make sure the surrounding ground is sloped away to allow the water to drain.

FEMA is Seeking Multifamily Properties to Support Disaster Survivors

FEMA is Seeking Multifamily Properties to Support Disaster Survivors

FEMA is requesting information from owners of multifamily properties that can be repaired to local, state and federal standards and be offered as temporary housing to survivors of Hurricane Ian.

Click here for details.

Public Assistance for Houses of Worship

Florida houses of worship and other private nonprofit organizations may be eligible for FEMA assistance to help pay for emergency protective measures, debris removal and restoration of facilities damaged by Hurricane Ian.

Houses of Worship are considered private nonprofit organizations that provide a noncritical, essential social service, such as community and senior citizen centers. This category of nonprofits must go through the loan application process with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance program before FEMA can determine eligibility for its Public Assistance program. SBA’s low-interest disaster loans provide up to $2 million for damaged repair or replacement of hurricane-damaged property, including furniture, fixtures, and other essential contents.

Houses of worship are not required to take out a loan, but FEMA will not fund repairs unless an SBA loan application has been denied or does not fully cover the permanent work costs.

Houses of worship should contact their county emergency management office for more information on how to submit a FEMA Request for Public Assistance.

Disaster Recovery Centers

Lakes Regional Library
15290 Bass Rd.
Fort Myers, FL 33919
Open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon-Sat

Beach Baptist Church
130 Connecticut St,
Fort Myers Beach, Fl. 33931
Open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon-Sat

Bonita Springs Recreational Center
26740 Pine Ave
BONITA SPRINGS, FL 34135
Open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon-Sat

Estero Council Chambers
9401 Corkscrew Palms Circle
Estero, FL 33928
Open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon-Sat

Lake Kennedy Center
400 Santa Barbara Blvd
CAPE CORAL, FL 33915
Open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon-Sat

Pine Island – Phillips Community Park
5675 Sesame Dr,
Bokeelia, FL 33922
Open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Mon-Sat

Sanibel Community Church
1740 Periwinkle Way,
Sanibel, FL 33957
Open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Daily

Disaster Recovery Centers provide disaster survivors with information from Florida state agencies, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Survivors can get help applying for federal assistance and disaster loans, update applications and learn about other resources available.

This fact sheet contains an explanation of services available at Disaster Recovery Centers

Disaster Recovery Center Shuttles

Pick-up Location: Kelly Road Soccer Complex. 10750 Kelly Road, Fort Myers.
Drop-off Location: Lakes Regional Library 15290 Bass Rd, Fort Myers, FL 33919
Time: The shuttle is free and will run continuously, beginning at 8am daily.

Pick-up Location: 17455 Summerlin Rd, Fort Myers, FL 33908
Drop-off Location: Lakes Regional Library 15290 Bass Rd, Fort Myers, FL 33919
Time: Starting at 8am running every 45 minutes, last shuttle will leave the library at 6pm

Available Resources at the Disaster Recovery Center

  • Florida state agencies, FEMA, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • Learn about the types of assistance available
  • Help with applying for federal assistance
  • Learn about the appeals process
  • Updates on applications
Free Uber To Disaster Recovery Centers

Uber is offering free round trip rides to Disaster Recovery Centers:

Lakes Regional Library
15290 Bass Road
Fort Myers, FL 33919

Fort Myers DMC Building
2295 Victoria Ave.
Fort Myers, FL 33901

How To Redeem

  1. Open Your App
  2. Tap Account on the bottom right.
  3. Tap Wallet
  4. Scroll down to “+ Add Promo Code”
  5. Enter code IANRECOVERY
  6. Select one of Lee County’s Disaster Recovery Centers

Transitional Sheltering Program

The state of Florida and FEMA have activated the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for Hurricane Ian survivors in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

Survivors from these counties who have applied for disaster assistance may be eligible to shelter in a hotel or motel paid for by FEMA. They may be eligible for TSA if they cannot return to their home and their housing needs cannot be met by insurance, shelters or rental assistance provided by FEMA or another agency (federal, state or nonprofit).

LEARN MORE

FEMA Rental Properties

FEMA is seeking multi-family rental properties impacted by Hurricane Ian that potentially could be repaired and used as temporary housing for FEMA applicants. More information about the program is available here. 

For questions on the program please contact Marvin Jennings ([email protected]gov)

Privately Owned Access Routes.

This fact sheet includes information on FEMA assistance that may be available to repair privately owned access routes such as driveways, roads, bridges, and docks that were damaged by Hurricane Ian.

Department of Health

DOH County Health Departments have been deployed to all Disaster Recovery Centers to provide services and resources. This includes Women and Infant Care, Vital Statistics, and other public health services. Costs for any vital statistics, such as birth and death certificates, have been waived.


Reemployment Assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance

Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the work search reporting, waiting week, and Employ Florida registration requirements for Reemployment Assistance claims have been temporarily waived for Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian in FEMA disaster-declared counties. By waiving these requirements, eligible Floridians will be able to quickly apply and receive reemployment assistance and disaster unemployment assistance benefits.

Additionally, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to Florida businesses and residents in FEMA disaster-declared counties whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a direct result of Hurricane Ian and are not eligible for regular state or Federal Reemployment Assistance benefits.

To file a claim, go to http://www.floridajobs.org and select “File a Claim”, visit a local CareerSource Career Center, or call 1-800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to assist claimants. For DUA claims information, call 1-833-FL-APPLY (1-833-352-7759) to speak with a representative.


Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Disaster Relief Fund

The FRLA Disaster Relief Fund is an initiative of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation.  This initiative strives to provide economic relief to Florida’s independent restaurants, independent lodging establishments[1] and employees of these organizations who are financially needy or distressed from the  impact of Hurricane Ian.  The FRLA Disaster Relief Fund provides immediate financial support in the form of grants valued at up to $10,000 per independently owned restaurant or lodging location. A minimum of 1/3 (33%) of the support provided must be earmarked to support employees in financial need.

For the absence of doubt, an independent restaurant or lodging establishment is defined as a restaurant or lodging establishment [1] owned by a corporation, limited liability partnership, general partnerships, or sole proprietorship. Franchisees of national chains are eligible, but only if the owner owns no more than three (3) franchised locations. Independent restaurant and lodging chains do qualify for this grant. Only one application is required for all multi-unit operators.

LEARN MORE OR APPLY


Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund

The Rebuild Florida Business Loan Fund, a resiliency loan fund provided through a partnership with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, is assisting businesses that experienced physical damage or economic injury from Hurricane Ian. It provides longer-term loans with higher funding levels at market interest rates. Up to $500,000 in financing can be provided to an eligible business for the following purposes: inventory purchases, construction or renovation, working capital needs, capital start-up loans, machinery and equipment purchases, equipment financing, and more.


IRS Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief for Individuals and Businesses

Victims of #HurricaneIan in Florida now have until Feb. 15, 2023, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. Find details on this and other Ian-related relief from the IRS at www.irs.gov/disaster.

IRS Excise Tax 

IRS will waive tax penalties on disasters on a case-by-case basis. Phone: (800) 829-1040. Learn more.


Relief Funding Information Center

An information center has been set up at the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center, 3903 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Fort Myers, for those looking for details on FEMA grants, Florida Small Business Loans, Emergency Bridge Loans, and other programs. They will be open from 10am-3pm Thursday and Friday.


Enterprise Florida Resource Page

For any businesses affected by Hurricane Ian, Enterprise Florida has launched a Disaster Assistance Resources Page with a list of state and federal resources available for businesses to utilize in their mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery activities.


Become A Lee County Vendor

Businesses are encouraged to register as a vendor with Lee County. By registering as a vendor, submitting a response to a solicitation, or entering into a contract, you are obligated to comply with the provisions of Section 448.095, Fla. Stat., “Employment Eligibility.”

Further, by your registration as a vendor, response to a solicitation, and entering into a contract, you affirm and represent that you are registered with the E-Verify system and are using the same, and will continue to use the same as required by Section 448.095, F.S. Compliance with Section 448.095 includes, but is not limited to, utilization of the E-Verify System to verify the work authorization status of all newly hired employees, and requiring all subcontractors to provide an affidavit attesting that the subcontractor does not employ, contract with, or subcontract with, an unauthorized alien.

It’s easy to become a Lee County Vendor. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Fill out the Vendor Pay Application
  • Complete and sign the W-9 form
  • Let them know if you want electronic payment (optional – ACH form required)

Once your application is received, your firm will be assigned a vendor number and you’re good to go.

The vendor/bidder application does not expire.  However, they do recommend that you contact them with any changes to ensure that your information is current.

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A LEE COUNTY VENDOR


CareerSource Southwest Florida

CareerSource Southwest Florida will have a fully-staffed mobile units available to assist with disaster unemployment assistance and temporary work for recovery. The mobile units are stationed at

Where: Veterans Community Park, 1895 Veteran’s Drive, Naples, Fl

Time: 8:00am to 7:00pm

Where:  Lakes Park Regional Library- 15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919 (DEO is inside the library)

Time: 8:00am to 7:00pm

Where: Department of Children and Families- Fort Myers location-2295 Victoria Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33901

Time: 8:00am to 7:00pm

Disaster Temporary Jobs Grant

Career Source has funding available to provide temporary work for people who have lost their employment due to the Hurricane and would like to provide humanitarian aid, disaster clean, or restorations services for a non-profit organization or a municipality/government entities.

We pay competitive prevailing wages and provide worker’s compensation coverage.

Contact Bill Welch, Business Services Director 239-258-1385

[email protected]careersourcesouthwestflorida.com


FutureMakers Coalition

https://www.futuremakerscoalition.com/

Information on furthering your education to start or advance your career
Employment opportunities


Better Business Bureau

For Consumers:

https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/27645-bbb-warns-consumers-to-watchout-for-storm-chasers-after-hurricane-ian

For Businesses:

https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/27647-bbb-urges-businesses-to-watch-out-for-storm-chasers-after-hurricane-ian

For Donors:

https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/27668-bbb-of-west-florida-tips-five-things-to-know-before-donating-to-hurricane-ian-relief

BBB Florida Hurricane Guide: www.bbb.org/hurricane

Better Business Bureau provides a one stop resource page to help Florida’s Consumers, Businesses and NonProfits.  Within this hurricane guide, you will find tips on Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Repair, How to Avoid Storm Chaser Scams, additional Government Resources and tips on Giving Wisely to Disaster Relief Charities.


Price Gouging Hotline

Attorney General Ashley Moody has activated the price gouging hotline statewide. Floridians can now report instances of severe price increases on essential commodities  to the Attorney General’s Office. Florida’s price gouging law only applies to commodities and services essential to preparing for or recovering from a storm during a declared state of emergency. Report price gouging at 1-866-9NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226).


Hurricane Ian Casualty Loss Questionnaire

Hurricane Ian has impacted everyone in SWFL in some way or another. We know that there may be questions on how to handle any casualty losses from the storm. Here at Markham Norton Mosteller Wright & Company, P.A., we created this Hurricane Ian Casualty Loss Questionnaire to help you work through the process and plan for your next steps in recovery. We hope you find this helpful, please feel free to contact our office if you have any questions.


50% Rule

The 50% Rule is a regulation of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that prohibits improvements to a structure exceeding 50% of its market value unless the entire structure is brought into full compliance with current flood regulations. This may include elevating the structure, using flood resistant materials, and proper flood venting among others.

On November 8, 2022 the Board of Lee County Commissioners approved these changes to the 50% rule:

  • Allowing for a “permit-by-permit” valuation of the cost of repairs. The past County regulations required a cumulative consideration of improvements made over the previous 5 years. This change would not apply to “repetitive loss” properties that have received two or more NFIP payouts in excess of $1000 over a 10-year period.
  • Amending cumulative period for “repetitive loss” properties from 5 years to 1 year for 50% calculation.
  • Updating elevation requirements for manufactured homes in special flood hazard areas and coastal high hazard areas.
  • Amendment reflecting that the newest version of FEMA flood insurance rate maps for Lee County take effect November, 17, 2022.

All the approved changes can be found at the following link.

If you should have any questions or concerns regarding the 50% rule, please contact Taylor Bollt by email at [email protected] or phone, 239-344-1361.

Helpful Links

FAQ from the Town of Fort Myers Beach

Lee County Property Appraiser’s Website

Substantial Improvement/Substantial Damage Desk Reference from FEMA

Answers to Questions about Substantially Improved/Substantially Damaged Buildings from FEMA


Insurance Help And Resources

Cape Coral Accepting Applications To Insurance Deductible Program

Cape Coral residents can now apply for State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) funds to assist in paying down insurance deductibles as the city recovers from the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Through 3 p.m. on December 9, residents who meet eligibility guidelines can apply for up to $10,000 of assistance.

LEARN MORE

Department of Financial Services Announces Two Insurance Villages

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and the Florida Department of Financial Services will be setting up two insurance villages to assist customers with insurance claims and other needs. Both locations will become operational at 1pm on Monday October 3.

Moving forward the locations will be open daily from 8am to 6pm seven days a week. Participants are encourages to arrive 8:30am and 12pm for set up.

Port Charlotte Town Center
1441 Tamiami Trail
Port Charlotte, FL 33948

JetBlue Park (Parking Lot)
11500 Fenway South Dr.
Fort Myers, FL 33913

Allstate and State Farm insurance companies have experienced representatives at mobile claims centers across SWFL to help clients process insurance claims for the damage that Hurricane Ian caused for homes, cars, and other property. Each one has a walk-up tent in the Home Depot parking lot at 14655 S Tamiami Trail in Fort Myers.

Flood Insurance Waivers to Speed Up Processing Times

Based on a request from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authorized the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to approve a waiver that will assist homeowners with national flood insurance, who were impacted by Hurricane Ian, will be able to get their claims processed faster.

This waiver will allow current policyholders to access a portion of their claim without having to complete the full claims process. This will speed up the process for people who are waiting for assistance. It will also provide up to $20,000 for necessary repairs.

This does not mean that policyholders can bypass the full claims process. The waiver is only in place to help get the process started faster, and provide assistance to those in affected areas. Policyholders will still need to complete the full insurance claims process.

If you are a policyholder that evacuated before the storm, and are unsure if you have flood damage, you can still start the flood insurance claims process if you suspect that you could have been effected by flooding.

Policyholders can contact their insurance agent or company to discuss next steps or start the NFIP Flood Claim process on the FEMA website. If you are not sure who the insurance agent or company is for your flood insurance, you can call (877) 336-2627.

Insurance Helpline

The Division of Consumer Services can assist insurance customers in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Call 1-877-693-5236 from 9 am to 5 pm.

Following Governor DeSantis’ Emergency Order 22-256, OIR issued Emergency Order 302804-22 for Hurricane Nicole and Hurricane Ian. This order amends and supersedes Emergency Order 300997-22. A copy of the order is available here.


Contractor lists for Town and State

Visit the Building Services page on the Town’s website.

Access the State of Florida’s Contractor List.

Access the Town of FMB’s contractor list.


Lee County Property Appraisal Office Update

The Lee County Property Appraiser’s office recently shared that they will be evaluating all the county’s 550,000 properties, getting assessments on the damage and redetermining the values during the next couple of months following Wednesday’s destruction wrought by Hurricane Ian. Lee County property appraiser Matt Caldwell notes that residents could help streamline this process by submitting their own information. If you visit LeePa.org, the home page now has links to submit details about damage as well as photographs.


Vessel Removal And Recovery

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has established a hotline for reporting displaced vessels still on Florida state waters because of Hurricane Ian. The public can report vessels on Florida waters that are displaced or damaged by calling the Hurricane Ian Vessel Hotline at 850-488-5600, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Callers should be prepared to provide the vessel’s registration number, current location and detailed description.

Following Hurricane Ian’s landfall, vessel owners were given a 45-day grace period to bring derelict vessels into compliance or remove them from state waters. The grace period ended on Nov. 15. The number of impacted vessels is significant and many residents are still assessing damages. Taking these factors into consideration, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has decided to extend the waiver acceptance deadline through the end of December.

Owners are encouraged to hire a salvage company to recover their vessel to provide the safest method possible for the vessel and the environment. If they are unable to salvage their vessels, lack the resources to have their boat repaired or if their vessel is determined to be beyond repair, they may release ownership of their vessel.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is now accepting applications for a recently approved and newly created Vessel Turn-In Program, a key component of Florida’s derelict vessel prevention program.

VTIP is a voluntary program designed to help owners dispose of their unwanted at-risk vessels before they become derelict. Upon approval of an application, VTIP will take a surrendered vessel and dispose of it at no cost to the boat owner. Removing the vessel before it deteriorates into a derelict condition will prevent legal ramifications for the vessel owner and will protect Florida’s valuable seagrass resources, marine life, and human life, safety, and property.

A derelict vessel upon waters of the state is a criminal offense and can carry serious penalties and fines or possible jail time.

To qualify for VTIP, a vessel must be floating upon waters of the state of Florida and cannot be determined derelict by law enforcement. The owner must have at least one written at-risk warning or citation and possess a clear title to the vessel.

To apply for or view program guidelines, visit MyFWC.com/VTIP or call the FWC Boating and Waterways Division at 850-488-5600 for more information.

If a derelict vessel is not brought into compliance or removed from the water by December 31, 2022, it will be treated as any other derelict vessel. At this time, the FWC will not be charging displaced vessel owners with a criminal violation of Florida law but the decision to hold vessel owners responsible for removal, destruction and disposal costs could be made at a future date.

Stokes Marine

In order for our team to respond as efficiently as possible to as many customers as possible we have created the ability to request hurricane related vessel recovery, boat lift service, and proposals for repairs/replacement on the home page of our website.

Even if you have already reached out to our office or any specific member of our team prior to today you still need to go to our website and submit a request. The only way to confirm you are on our list and we have your request is via a submittal on our website.


Mail pick-up location for Fort Myers Beach

FMB residents can pick up mail at the Fort Myers Processing & Distribution Center at 14080 Jetport Loop. For customers arriving by car, there is signage directing them where to park. A mobile retail unit has been set up in the parking lot to assist customers with mailing and shipping needs, stamp and money order purchases and change of address requests. This new location will be open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. USPS says all customers impacted by Hurricane Ian should file for a change of address to ensure they can receive uninterrupted and accurate mail delivery service. The USPS Care Center (1-800-275-8777) is available for customers in areas affected by Hurricane Ian with questions about their mail or package delivery service, or any other matter involving postal operations.


Lee Tran Service To The Beach

LeeTran‘s beach park and ride is currently not available for parking. Please utilize the FastTrax (formerly Zoomers) parking lot located on Summerlin until further notice. We will be routing buses from FastTrax to Bowditch to Bay Beach Ln. By utilizing the bus you can bypass all the traffic.


Finding A Place To Live

Unite Florida Portal

Governor DeSantis announced the launch of the Unite Florida Recovery Portal to connect Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian to important recovery resources, including housing support.

Florida’s first-ever state-led sheltering and housing program is available through IanRecovery.fl.gov and provides temporary sheltering options — such as travel trailers and recreational vehicles — and temporary or permanent repairs for households whose needs are not met through insurance or FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. Residents impacted by Hurricane Ian can also access the Unite Florida Portal to report unmet needs such as transportation, household items and social services.

Hurricane Homes

HurricaneHomes.org is a team effort to help those affected by natural disasters. The site is created by real estate industry veterans to help those in their time of need.

The site works together with local Realtor® Associations and MLSs to identify housing that is immediately available to those displaced from their homes.

Airbnb And Expedia Resources For Accommodation

Airbnb

Airbnb has launched www.airbnb.com/hurricaneianflorida as a resource for Florida residents displaced by Hurricane Ian. The page shows open (vacant and available for rent) properties that are available to be booked outside of the FEMA Disaster zones.  As communities become fully restored with water and electricity, Airbnb will add more open properties to the page.

For displaced residents of Lee and Charlotte counties, Airbnb is also working with their nonprofit partners to offer vouchers for temporary housing at Airbnb properties. To learn more, click here.

Expedia

VISIT FLORIDA has activated its Emergency Accommodations Module with Expedia to provide real-time hotel availability throughout the state. This module is automatically populated from Florida inventory information provided to Expedia.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation

If your family has been displaced, we encourage you to visit www.FloridaHousingSearch.org. This free, statewide search platform is updated to ensure all listings are accurate and can help you quickly locate an affordable rental property. Phone: 1-877-428-8844.

State Housing Initiatives Partnership

If your home sustained damage as a result of the storm, your local State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program office may have recovery assistance available to help with temporary relocation, rental assistance, debris removal, and/or home repairs. Please contact your local SHIP office directly for more information:

Florida Vacation Rentals – Beach Houses, Condos & More

Short term lodging for guests, recovery workers and adjusters, here you can find many furnished homes and condos available! Visit https://www.floridarentals.com/.


Family Resource Support Center

The Family Resource Support Center serves as a central hub for the community to access needed resources and supports. The Department has staff on site, including Hope Navigators, behavioral health partners who specialize in disaster recovery response, and public benefit eligibility specialists to help individuals and families. The Department will continue to work with local organizations and partners across the state to expand the array of resources that are available to help meet the needs of impacted families.

Sunshine Health – Lee County
4901 Palm Beach Boulevard , Suite 80
Fort Myers, Fl 33905
9am to 6pm


Pets

Free Veterinary Services

University of Florida Veterinarians is offering free veterinary services. The daily service will run 9am-5pm daily from Terry Park, 3410 Palm Beach Blvd. Fort Myers until further notice.

Free Dog and Cat Food

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office continues to distribute dog and cat food to those in need!

Anyone needing pet food should feel free to visit us at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Miromar Outlets Community Outreach Center located inside the Miromar Outlets, 10801 Corkscrew Road, Suite 190, in Estero.
Both dry and canned dog and cat food are available at this time (while supplies last).

Please park near the WINK Playland on the northwest corner of the property.


Mental Health Resources

Mental health resources for individuals and communities are available at MyFLFamilies.com/HurricaneIan. Floridians’ health and well-being are a top priority, and the Department of Children and Families is reminding individuals that they are not alone. All Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian can find someone to talk to today through the Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 800-985-5990.


Florida Licensing On Wheels

In response to Hurricane Ian, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) today deployed Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobile units to Lee County to provide residents with no-fee replacement driver licenses, identification cards, and titles.

The FLOW mobiles in Lee County will be located at:

Hertz Arena
11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero, FL 33928
Hours of Operation: 8:30am – 4:30pm, seven days a week

Disaster Recovery Center
Lakes Regional Library
15290 Bass Road, Fort Myers, FL 33919
Hours of Operation: 8:30am – 4:30pm, seven days a week

FLOW mobiles will provide the following services:

-Renew or obtain an original Florida driver license and/or ID card;
-Replace a driver license and/or ID card;
-Change a name or address on a driver license and/or ID card;
-Renew or replace a vehicle registration;
-Replace a lost vehicle title; and
-Obtain or renew a disabled person parking permit.


Operation Blue Roof

Operation Blue Roof is active in your county. Deadline to apply is October 23. This is a FREE, NO COST program, where a contractor installs a fiber-reinforced, industrial-strength sheeting to protect storm-damaged roofs until homeowners can make permanent repairs. You can sign-up three ways: Call 888-766-3258; visit Blueroof.us; or go to the mobile sign-up location. Learn more.


Assignment of Benefits – Don’t Be A Victim

An Assignment of Benefits agreement gives a third party (roofer, building contractor etc.) authority to make repair decisions, collect insurance payments and sue an insurance company in your name without your knowledge, consent, or involvement.

Florida’s CFO Jimmy Patronis has provided the following sites to answer you questions about Assignment of Benefits (AOB).  Please read before you SIGN ANYTHING!

AOB FAQ:
https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/consumers/assignmentofbenefits.htm

AOB Brochure:
https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/consumers/understandingCoverage/Guides/documents/AssignmentOfBenefits.pdf

AOB Consumer Tips and Red Flags:
https://www.myfloridacfo.com/division/consumers/UnderstandingCoverage/Guides/documents/AOB_Consumer-Tips-Red-Flags_web.pdf


FPL Update

If the meter box, pipes or wires are bent or broken, repairs may be needed before we can restore power. If it looks damaged, contact a licensed electrician. Do not touch damaged equipment. If the meter itself is damaged, restoration personnel will replace it.

FPL has opened outage relief centers where customers can get updates, depending on location, ice, water, device charging, etc. Locations are listed here.

  • Fort Myers: 2450 Edison Avenue
  • Fort Myers: 13401 Summerlin Road
  • Fort Myers: 17105 San Carlos Blvd.
  • Fort Myers: 3903 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
  • Fort Myers: 14821 Ben C Pratt/6-Mile Cypress Parkway
  • Fort Myers: 17000 Tamiami Trail
  • Naples: 500 Park Shore Drive
  • Estero: 9100 Williams Road

Staying Safe as Power is Restored to Your Home or Business

Safely restoring power to your home and/or business following any hurricane is extensive. After returning to your home and/or business, customers must assess damage and perform clean-up and repairs which can be difficult. Make that time safe and productive by following these tips:

  • If your electrical equipment has gotten wet or is near water, turn off the power at the main breaker. If you must enter water to access the main switch, call an electrician to turn it off.
  • Do not turn electrical equipment back on until it has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
  • Stay clear of downed power lines, as they may still be energized and dangerous. Puddles of water contacting downed lines are just as dangerous.
  • Do not trim trees or remove debris located near downed power lines.
  • If you must remove debris from in or around your home, do not pile it under or near electrical lines or equipment.
  • If appliances were on when the power was lost, make sure all appliances are turned off. If left on, they could pose fire hazards when the power is restored.
  • Refrain from using candles and instead, use a battery-operated flashlight as an alternative light source.
  • Do not re-freeze food once it begins to thaw.
  • Do not use tap water until it is safe. Boil water before drinking until you receive official word that the water is safe.

For more ways to stay safe around electricity, visit lcec.net.


Points of Distribution For Food And Water

Lee County, along with state and federal partners, are opening Food & Water Points of Distribution (PODs) from 8am – 5pm daily for residents impacted by Hurricane Ian who need food and water. Learn more.

Also actively distributing food are

Harry Chapin Food Bank

Community Cooperative

Midwest Food Bank

In addition, Royal Palm Coast Realtor Association has opened their education building (4081 Centerpointe Drive) in Fort Myers to the community to get supplies they have collected from across the country. They are open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 2pm.


FREE Wi-Fi Hotspot Network

Starlink

There is now Internet at Santini Marina Plaza and at The FMB Public Library free for everyone to use. Adam has been a rock star for Fort Myers Beach. Here’s the log-in information

Starlink at FMB Library
Free Wi-Fi
Password; IANLEECO2022

Starlink deployed To Fire House Station 33 just north of Santini Plaza
Network; FireStation33
Password; FireHouse

Comcast

Xfinity WiFi vans, which provide free wireless internet service so residents and emergency personnel can stay connected are open and active for impacted individuals, free for everyone, to connect from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily until further notice, currently stationed at:

  • Walmart Supercenter at 1619 Del Prado Boulevard South, Cape Coral, FL 33990

  • Walmart Supercenter at 17105 San Carlos Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33931

  • Walmart Neighborhood Market (Charlotte Square) at 2150 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33948

  • Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association at 2001 Shreve Street, Punta Gorda, FL 33950

Verizon

Verizon customers and small business customers in Charlotte, Collier, Desoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties will continue to receive unlimited calling, texting, and mobile data through October 31, 2022, in counties.

Verizon has deployed a Wireless Emergency Connection Center (WECC) to assist Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian with wi-fi, phone batteries, and charging stations. This station is available to any customer of any carrier to stay connected.

Fort Myers Town Hall, 2525 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

Additionally, charging pedestals are available at:

North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Road, Naples, FL 34116

Lumen

Lumen has set up three 24/7 Wi-Fi locations for its CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber customers. The free Wi-Fi locations include:

4001 Palm Tree Boulevard, Cape Coral, FL 33904

10546 Tipton Drive, Bokeelia, FL 33922

4195 Kings Highway, Port Charlotte, FL 33980

AT&T

AT&T is welcoming other carriers’ customers to roam on its networks so they can connect, even if their carrier’s service isn’t available after the storm. Since opening the AT&T network last week for roaming, it has handled about 47 TBs (equal to 16 billion text messages) of traffic from other carriers to help keep those in impacted areas connected.


Sanibel Captiva Community Bank

As we start another week post-hurricane we want to provide some important updates. We hope you and your families are beginning to recover and resuming some normalcy in your lives. Remember, we have five locations open ready to help you along with hot coffee, freshly baked cookies and a warm welcome.


Other Useful Links