Florida issuing relief funds for residents in hard-hit counties to help pay insurance deductibles

It's now been nearly four weeks since Hurricane Ian slammed into southwest Florida, destroying thousands of houses. Homeowners are ready to rebuild, but some are struggling to pay their home insurance deductible among other costs.

"Maybe they need help with a deductible, maybe they need help with a repair, maybe they need transportation. Maybe they lost their vehicle," Governor Ron DeSantis said at news conference in Punta Gorda Saturday. "You know, it used to be in these storms, [when] you lose your vehicle, you get a check from the insurance company. You just go to the car dealer, buy a new car, no big deal. Well, it's a lot harder to find cars now because of the supply chain and all these other problems," 

It's why DeSantis announced the state will be disbursing $5 million dollars to help people pay their home insurance deductibles. The money will be awarded to local housing partners in six counties; Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties.

"We understand there's a lot of challenges here. We understand that those deductibles can be difficult to meet, and we want to be able to help. And so folks can stand by, and you will be getting information about that very soon," DeSantis said.

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The money will go straight to each county’s State Housing Initiatives Partnership office or SHIP. Homeowners in need of assistance should reach out to the office in their county.

"By providing the necessary assistance to help these homeowners with their insurance deductibles, we hope to ease some of the financial burden that comes after a major storm and allow their focus to remain on recovery," said Florida Housing Finance Corp. Executive Director Trey Price.

Along with financial relief to help people pay their deductibles, DeSantis is also giving $2 million dollars from the Florida Disaster Fund to schools in the same six counties to help teachers and districts as they work to get back on track.