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FEMA hosts town hall answering pressing questions about 50% rule

Posted at 10:35 PM, Nov 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-03 22:41:26-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — The City of Cape Coral hosting a town hall with FEMA tonight answering tough questions about hurricane recovery.

FEMA representatives talked about the “50% rule” on building recovery to flood insurance and small business administration loans. All of these topics have certainly been on a lot of people’s minds as they keep rebuilding after Hurricane Ian.

But the one more confusing than the rest has been FEMA’s 50% rule. Those with FEMA to help clear the air.

"We are not going anywhere. We are going to be here with you until you have completely recovered.”

A promising statement from the top state disaster leader Kevin Guthrie alongside FEMA officials in front of a packed house in Cape Coral's City Hall. FEMA’s 50% rule.

“The 50% rule is what’s referred to as substantial damage determination,” said Kevin Guthrie, State Disaster Leader.

Even across city lines, many still don’t know what the rule means. Fort Myers Beach published a memo on their website, defining it as a regulation of the national flood insurance program that prohibits improvements to a structure exceeding 50% of its market value unless the entire structure is brought into full compliance with current flood regulations.

“Homes that were damaged beyond that 50% value threshold to know if people can and should mitigate to repair those properties,” said Ryan Lamb, Fire Chief & Emergency Management for the City of Cape Coral.

The city also walking people thru step-by-step on how to have their properties appraised online. The Lee County property appraiser’s website.

As for those questions that weren’t answered tonight, disaster recovery centers are helping on a more individual basis.

"We’re excited to have a disaster recovery center from FEMA," said Lamb. "This is where FEMA representatives will actually be able to work with individuals here in our city to work through some of their specific cases and questions and individual scenarios to help them get good results.”

The city says that disaster recovery center will be open starting tomorrow at the Lake Kennedy Center just off Santa Barbara Boulevard. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.