Hurricane Irma General Information

Hurricane Irma was a historic storm, impacting all 67 counties in Florida.  Local, state, and federal authorities have commenced the rebuilding operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. I applaud the work authorities across all levels have put into the preparation strategies for this storm. Our state has once again shown its resilience in the face of natural disasters. 

There is still much work to be done as communities and constituents recover from this storm. Below is information on assistance programs for individuals as well as small businesses. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 352-241-9220 if you need any assistance.

FEMA Individual Assistance

FEMA made every county in our congressional district – Lake, Marion, Sumter, Hernando, and Citrus – eligible for Individual Assistance. Residents of these counties can begin applying for assistance through the steps below: 

  • Residents who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance by registering online at Residents are also encouraged to download the FEMA App to begin the registration process. Click on Disaster Resources.
  • If you do not have access to the internet, you may register by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-621-FEMA.
  • The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Individual Assistance Fact Sheet (PDF)  Disaster Unemployment Assistance Fact Sheet (PDF)

Information for Small Businesses

Governor Rick Scott has re-started the Florida Small Business Bridge Loan Program to assist the small businesses across our state that have been affected by the storm. The program is intended to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that have sustained physical or economic damage. The application period runs from September 14th, 2017 to October 31st, 2017.
To complete the application or get more information on this program, visit You can also reach the Florida Small Business Development Center Network – which runs the loan program – at 850-898-3489 or e-mail Phones will be answered during the regular 9am-5pm hours Monday-Friday. Voicemails and e-mails will be responded to within 24 hours.


Employment Assistance

Dislocated Worker Grants have been awarded to provide temporary employment assistance to Floridians affected by Hurricane Irma. 

  • For information regarding National Dislocated Worker Grants, visit your local CareerSource Center at
  • The Disaster Unemployment Assitance (DUA) program provides assistences to Floridians whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted due to Hurricane Irma. To apply, visit or call the hotline at 1-800-385-3920.

Roads and Shelters

  • For real-time traffic information and updated evacuation route in formation, visit
  • The Florida Department of Transportation crews are working with utilitity crews across the state to clear roads so power can be restored. 
  • Every interstate and turnpike is open for Floridians, but please heed local officials directives on when to return home.
  • Almost 600 shelters are open throughout our state, housing almost 250,000 individuals. Among those, more than 90 are special needs shelters.
  • More information for shelters in your area can be found on

Finding Loved Ones

  • The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English. To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative, please contact 1-800 RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Flood Insurance

  • If you have a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policy, you may be eligible for reimbursement of actions taken to protect your property. Call your insurance agent to find out more.
  • To file a flood insurance claim under the NFIP, contact your insurance agent immediately. You can also call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) – select option 2 – to learn more about your policy, and be directed to the appropriate claims resource.

Information for tourists in the Caribbean

FEMA, through its National and Regional Response Coordination Centers and liaisons to the National Hurricane Center, is actively monitoring the track of Tropical Storm Irma and continues to support local authorities as they respond to the damage it has already caused in Florida, Georgia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Any tourists requiring transport off St. Thomas and St. John should contact the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism at (340) 772-0357 or visit for additional information. The U.S. Department of State is coordinating evacuation assistance with the Department of Defense for Americans on St. Martin. They continue to advise U.S. citizens to shelter in place at a secure location until they have specific and confirmed departure plans.