Ron DeSantis: Florida Will Pursue HUD Funds for Disaster Mitigation Projects

On Thursday, Gov. Ron DeSantis launched Florida’s effort to secure more than $633 million from the federal government for disaster mitigation projects.

Pointing to hurricanes that have hit Florida in recent years, DeSantis is pursuing funds included in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) program.

“The damage brought by recent hurricanes has made it abundantly clear that Florida must prioritize disaster mitigation projects to better protect our communities from future disasters,” said DeSantis. “Florida has an incredible opportunity to leverage this first-of-its-kind federal mitigation funding to help our communities reduce the impacts and damage from future disasters.”

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) will create a State Action Plan that “will provide a high-level strategy for how the funding will be used to address eligible communities’ disaster mitigation needs” and which  “will be developed in partnership with state agencies working on resiliency efforts, as well as with input from local communities and stakeholders to determine Florida’s most critical disaster mitigation needs.”

“Since day one in office, Governor DeSantis has made it very clear that rebuilding from and making Florida more resilient to disasters is our number one priority,” said Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “We’ll continue working with our local, state and federal partners to develop and finalize our State Action Plan for these critical dollars. The sooner our plan is approved, the sooner we can get these much-needed funds into the communities impacted by these storms.”

DEO will have the State Action Plan over to HUD by February 3, 2020.

“With the infusion of this new federal funding, combined with the bold leadership of Governor DeSantis, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build on the successes of Florida’s existing mitigation and resiliency efforts and truly make Florida’s communities better prepared for and more resilient to future disasters,” said Dr. Julia Nesheiwat, Florida’s chief resilience officer.

“With our unique weather and 1000-plus miles of coastline and low-lying areas, Florida’s communities are particularly susceptible to the impacts of hurricanes and other disasters,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection Sec. Noah Valenstein. “This new program will bolster the state’s unified response to resiliency planning and disaster mitigation.”

DEO will gather input in the coming weeks, including holding workshops and webinars, as it assembles the plan.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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