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Homeowners affected by Hurricane Ian get more time to apply for federal aid

Sun Sentinel logoSun Sentinel 11/30/2022 Wells Dusenbury, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A tornado spawned from Hurricane Ian damaged cars at the Kings Point community in West Delray in September. Palm Beach County is one of 26 counties across Florida, and the only one in the tri-county area, eligible for federal disaster assistance due to Ian's destruction. © Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS A tornado spawned from Hurricane Ian damaged cars at the Kings Point community in West Delray in September. Palm Beach County is one of 26 counties across Florida, and the only one in the tri-county area, eligible for federal disaster assistance due to Ian's destruction.

Homeowners and renters in Palm Beach County who were hit hard by Hurricane Ian will have until Jan. 12 to apply for federal aid, thanks to a newly extended deadline.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency this week pushed back its deadline to apply for the disaster assistance, which includes financial help to pay for temporary lodging and home repairs, as well as other disaster-related expenses.

Richard Martin, 77, was one of the Kings Point residents whose home was destroyed by the tornado in West Delray. Martin thought he had wind insurance, but when he called his insurance company, he was informed that he did not in fact have the right kind of insurance, and therefore would not receive any money to recoup what he had lost.

Visitors skirt debris and portions of the dock that have washed ashore as they check out the damage at the Centennial Park and Fort Myers Wharf area on the Caloosahatchee River Thursday, Sept. 29. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane on the Southwest coast of Florida. © Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS Visitors skirt debris and portions of the dock that have washed ashore as they check out the damage at the Centennial Park and Fort Myers Wharf area on the Caloosahatchee River Thursday, Sept. 29. Hurricane Ian made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane on the Southwest coast of Florida.

Martin said Wednesday that he has filed his paperwork with FEMA and that the agency was reviewing his claim. Martin said he has been in contact with multiple representatives and has been encouraged by the process.

“FEMA’s been pretty good on the follow-up,” Martin said. “They’ve been very accurate and organized. I’ve been speaking to a lot of different people in a lot of different places, as you can imagine, and FEMA is about the most organized, up-to-date and way ahead of everyone else.”

Aerial photo of damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Fort Myers. © Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS Aerial photo of damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Fort Myers.

Following the storm, Martin temporarily stayed with the parents of a friend, but is now renting a place and is optimistic FEMA will come through with the relief funds.

If homeowners are covered by insurance, FEMA will not duplicate those benefits. However, if the policy does not cover all the disaster-related expenses, homeowners may be eligible for federal assistance.

While South Florida was largely spared the worst of Hurricane Ian, the storm’s destruction came in the form of seven tornadoes that tore through Palm Beach and Broward counties on Sept. 27.

One of those tornados, which ravaged the senior living community of Kings Point west of Delray Beach, was an EF-2, the National Weather Service confirmed, a strong tornado not commonly seen in South Florida, let alone one of seven. It lifted the roofs off houses and moved cars down the street.

Aerial photo of damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Fort Myers. © Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS Aerial photo of damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Fort Myers.

The National Weather Service also designated six as EF-1 or EF-0, or weak tornadoes, including one that destroyed planes at North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines and another that damaged mobile homes in Davie.

Aerial photo of damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Cape Coral. © Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS Aerial photo of damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Cape Coral.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially ended Wednesday.

Palm Beach County is one of 26 counties in Florida, and the only one in the tri-county area, eligible for FEMA assistance from Hurricane Ian.

Aerial photo of the damaged Sanibel Causeway that connects Fort Myers to the island community seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Fort Myers. © Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS Aerial photo of the damaged Sanibel Causeway that connects Fort Myers to the island community seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Fort Myers.

Homeowners and renters in Palm Beach County who were affected by Hurricane Ian may apply for FEMA disaster assistance in one of these three ways:

Aerial photo of damage at the Punta Gorda Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Punta Gorda. © Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS Aerial photo of damage at the Punta Gorda Airport in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Punta Gorda.

Applicants will need to provide the following information:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Social Security number
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • Banking information for those who choose direct deposit
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name
Kings Point resident Maria Esturilho is escorted by her son, Tony Esturilho, as they leave behind the damage from a tornado spawned by Hurricane Ian at the Kings Point community in West Delray on Sept. 28. A deadline to apply for federal aid has been extended to January. © Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS Kings Point resident Maria Esturilho is escorted by her son, Tony Esturilho, as they leave behind the damage from a tornado spawned by Hurricane Ian at the Kings Point community in West Delray on Sept. 28. A deadline to apply for federal aid has been extended to January.

©2022 South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Visit sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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