Lee County Gets $1.1 Billion From Feds For Ian

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The Lee Board of County Commissioners learned Wednesday that the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has allocated $1.1 billion in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding to assist with the county’s long-term recovery following Hurricane Ian.

The money is being sent to Lee County from the department of Housing and Urban Development. According to Lee County Communications Director Betsy Clayton, Fort Myers Beach will be eligible to apply for some of this funding.

The funds can be used for a variety of activities including housing redevelopment, infrastructure repair, economic revitalization and long-term planning.

Here’s what Lee County says about distributing the funds: “Communities and Lee County residents preparing for CDBG-DR funds are encouraged to begin the planning process but should not anticipate applying for some time. In addition to the required approval of the county’s CDBG-DR Action Plan, HUD must issue guidance – via Federal Register notice – detailing rules and regulations for administering these funds. In total, the county’s CDBG-DR Action Plan development and associated approval along with the guidance issuance by HUD could take several months. While this process will take time, it will also help ensure that this funding is distributed in a way that enables the county to repair and rebuild its communities more resilient to the future hazards that it may face.”

“The damage from Hurricane Ian impacted so many people in Lee County and these funds are key to our long-term efforts to rebuild their lives,” said Lee County Commission Chairman Brian Hamman. “We are grateful to HUD for allowing Lee County to administer these funds as our community comes together to build back stronger and better than ever.”

Prior to the release of CDBG-DR funds, the county is required to develop a CDBG-DR Action Plan to describe the uses, management and oversight of these funds, and must be approved by HUD. In support of this effort, the county’s regional Recovery Task Force, led by Commissioner Kevin Ruane, will continue engaging with each of the hardest-hit communities across the county to hear directly from community leaders and members of the public about their remaining needs and seeking input on how to best use this funding to bring Lee County back better than ever.

“Hurricane Ian did catastrophic damage to our community, but our commitment to recovery has never wavered,” RTF Chairman Ruane said. “Leaders from both the public and private sector are already working to meet the needs of our neighbors working to rebuild lives and communities throughout Lee County.”