What is FEMA assistance?

Hernando County Continues to Urge Residents to Apply for Hurricane Idalia FEMA Assistance

By Meaghan Goepferich Posted on October 13, 2023

Hernando County Continues to Urge Residents to Apply for Hurricane Idalia FEMA Assistance

How to Apply for FEMA Assistance

If you sustained loss from Hurricane Idalia and live in Charlotte, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Suwannee or Taylor counties, FEMA may be able to help. You may be eligible for FEMA financial assistance for temporary lodging, basic home repairs, personal property losses and other uninsured disaster-related expenses.

Call toll-free 800-621-3362, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, download the FEMA App for mobile devices or visit a Disaster Recovery Center. The telephone line is open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. Help is available in most languages. If you use a relay service such as VRS, captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA your number for that service. To view an accessible video on how to apply visit Three Ways to Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance – YouTube. The deadline to apply is Oct. 30, 2023.

Don’t Wait. Clean Up As Soon As Possible

Residents with home damage after Hurricane Idalia do not need to wait for a FEMA inspection or flood insurance claim inspection to beginning cleaning up. If the home needs a blue tarp to prevent further damage, install the tarp as quickly as possible. FEMA will let you know if a home inspection is necessary and you can provide photos or videos of interior and exterior damage. FEMA may be able to provide financial assistance for removal of debris or trees only if they affect the habitability of the home or block access to the home. Before starting any structural work, be sure to get a building permit from your local building authorities.

Questions About FEMA Assistance?

Visit Q&A: FEMA Individual Assistance | FEMA.gov.

By the Numbers Per FEMA

  • $63.7 million in FEMA Individual Assistance approved for 31,496 households.
  • $46.1 million in U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans approved.
  • $53.9 million in National Flood Insurance Program payments; 4,886 claims filed.

Disaster Recovery Centers

Disaster Recovery Centers provide one-on-one help to people affected by Hurricane Idalia. A video is available: Disaster Recovery Center (DRC): Your Resource After a Hurricane – YouTube.

Hernando County: Hernando Public Library Branch, 9220 Spring Hill Dr. Spring Hill, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon-Sat, closed Sunday (effective Oct. 9, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Sat, closed Sunday)

Low-Interest Disaster Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofit organizations to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and other sources. Apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/ela/s/. Disaster loan information and application forms can also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955. Application deadline for physical damage is Oct. 30, 2023, and for economic injury May 31, 2024. SBA is operating Business Recovery Centers at Suwannee County Chamber of Commerce in Live Oak and Entrepreneur Center in Tampa.

If FEMA refers you to the SBA, it is important to submit the disaster loan application. If approved, you do not have to accept a loan but failure to submit the application may disqualify you from other possible financial assistance from FEMA and State of Florida.

Substantial Damage Determinations

Local community officials are required to inspect disaster-damaged structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area to meet the requirements of the Florida Building Code and the community’s floodplain management regulations. If the cost of repairing the structure to its pre-disaster condition before Hurricane Idalia is 50 percent or more than its pre-disaster market value, the structure is considered “substantially damaged.” Options include floodproofing a non-residential structure, relocating the structure outside the floodplain, elevating the structure to a height determined by local community officials, or demolishing the structure. FEMA does not make substantial damage determinations; the determination is made by a community’s building official or floodplain manager.

Agriculture Assistance

For Hurricane Idalia assistance, please call the Farm Service Agency Producer Hotline at 877-508-8364, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or send an email to the FSA disaster group inbox at SM.FPAC.FSA.FLFSA.Disaster@USDA.GOV. For more information about USDA disaster resources please visit farmers.gov/protection-recovery. USDA Service Centers are designed to be a single location where customers can access the services provided by the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Rural Development. For questions about food safety, call the Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854, Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET (English or Spanish) or email MPHotline@usda.gov. Owners of meat and poultry producing businesses may call 877-FSIS-HELP (877-374-7435), email infosource@fsis.usda.gov, or visit fsis.usda.gov/inspection/compliance-guidance/small-very-small-plant-guidance/small-plant-help-desk.

Mold Cleanup

State Housing Assistance

For temporary shelter in travel trailers or hotel rooms, visit floridarecovers.org.

For a list of resources to help with your recovery, visit:



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