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FEMA announces changes to speed recovery, but many in SWFL still wait for help

FEMA announces changes to speed up recovery process, but many in Cape Coral still wait for help
Posted at 9:53 PM, Jan 22, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — South Cape Coral faced some of the hardest hit from Hurricane Ian. Now, many houses in the area look restored on the outside but many still face significant interior damage even more than a year later. However, with FEMA's newest changes that were announced on Friday, they hope to help those facing a natural disaster in the future get the help they need faster.

"I'm almost thinking of doing a GoFundMe page just to be able to get something for him because I think we're going to run really short," said Melissa Ann Stevens whose father's house still is unlivable more than a year later.

"We have a bid just to start with at $89,000 we've only gotten a check for $55,000, so it's not even going to cover what we have to get through," said Stevens. "That's just for the interior of the house."

Stevens says they are still dealing with mold and roof damage that many others can relate to.

However, with FEMA's new rules, they hope to cut delays and help survivors of natural disasters get back to rebuilding faster.

The new rules would expand eligibility and provide extra help when insurance will not.

FEMA's Press Release states:
"Financial assistance is now available up to the $42,500 cap, to cover costs not reimbursed by insurance, including deductibles and underinsured losses."

"Most of the people that I know, even if they had maybe a little bit of insurance, they didn't they didn't get an opportunity to even, you know, go back and talk to them or anything," said Stevens. "They were just declined and that's it."

These changes will begin starting March 22 of this year.