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Ron DeSantis Steps Up After Biden’s FEMA Refuses Post Hurricane Funding Request

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is prepared to respond after the Federal Emergency Management Agency has refused to provide a batch of emergency funds for state projects following damage done by Hurricane Ian.

The Republican governor, who was just commandingly reelected to a second term last month, said that President Joe Biden’s FEMA is refusing a $25 million request to fund emergency housing in the wake of the storm, but added that wouldn’t stop him from providing the aid anyway, Fox News reported.

“Unfortunately, we got word last week that FEMA had denied our request for funding our state-led housing initiative, citing their ‘limited authority,’” DeSantis told reporters on Monday. “We’re not just going to sit there and take no for an answer, and we’re going to figure out what we can do.

“We want to cut through bureaucracy. We want to bring relief to impacted Floridians regardless of whether FEMA wants to be a part of that,” he added.

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He also said that Florida was providing travel trailers and recreational vehicles to residents impacted by the storm and who may not be eligible for FEMA’s direct housing programs.

“Not only do we think that that would be filling a need, but we also think we can do it quicker and more efficiently than FEMA. And so we’ve worked really hard to do that,” he said.

“We’ve launched the Unite Florida portal – a one-stop shop where impacted Floridians can apply for a state housing program, as well as report other unmet needs, including transportation and food assistance. In the two weeks since we launched the portal, more than 2,000 people have applied, including 1,500 housing applicants,” DeSantis added.

Fox News noted further that the governor announced an additional $35.2m million had been raised in private donations via the Florida Disaster Fund, which first lady Casey DeSantis launched a few days before the massive storm made landfall. That, too, will go towards the state’s program to repair homes.

Assistance from other states poured in as well immediately following the storm.

“The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has received a major boost in support from the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), gaining 1,800 personnel from more than two dozen states that have arrived in the state to assist in recovery efforts,” the Daily Wire reported.

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In a statement, DeSantis’ office noted: “FDEM is working with feeding partners to open kitchens for impacted and displaced residents. More than 63,000 hot meals were served on-scene at food banks in Alachua, Brevard, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Orange, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole and Union counties yesterday, Friday, September 30. More than 100,000 hot meals will be served today, October 1.”

At the time, Casey DeSantis provided an update on her fundraising efforts.

“Raising more than $20 million in 48 hours for The Florida Disaster Fund is a testament to the generosity and compassion from people across Florida and the country,” she said, according to a statement posted on the FDEM website. “This funding is already being utilized by organizations in the field to help people who have been impacted by this storm.  We are incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support for Florida.”

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Following the storm, DeSantis warned residents and others with bad intentions that looting would not be tolerated.

“They boarded up all the businesses, and there are people that wrote on their plywood, ‘you loot, we shoot,’” the governor said during a press conference on Friday. “At the end of the day, we are not going to allow lawlessness to take advantage of this situation. We are a law-and-order state, and this is a law-and-order community, so do not think that you’re going to go take advantage of people who’ve suffered misfortune.”

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“The other thing that we’re concerned about, particularly in those areas that were really hard hit, is you know, we wanna make sure we’re maintaining law and order,” he said.

“Don’t even think about looting. Don’t even think about taking advantage of people in this vulnerable situation. And so local law enforcement is involved in monitoring that,” the governor added.

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