Volunteer Florida announces grant to support Panhandle flood recovery

Special to The Log

Volunteer Florida recently announced the approval of more than $905,000 FEMA grant to provide disaster case management services and assist victims of the spring 2014 flooding in the Florida Panhandle. The grant will fund disaster case managers in Okaloosa, Walton, Escambia, and Santa Rosa Counties that will work with Panhandle residents to identify needs, develop recovery plans, and navigate requirements for assistance.

Governor Scott said, “Continuing to aid in the Panhandle’s recovery from April’s floods is a top priority, and I would like to thank everyone who has worked hard to help Panhandle families. Our work is not done until every family in the Panhandle has fully recovered from this disaster, and we will continue to work to find ways to accomplish this goal.”

In addition to the FEMA grant, Gov. Scott and Volunteer Florida activated the Florida Disaster Fund in May 2014 following the flooding. Working closely with partners in impacted counties, including representatives from county governments and volunteers from community and faith-based organizations, the Volunteer Florida Foundation raised and distributed $250,000 in grants to local organizations to aid affected Panhandle families with long-term recovery efforts.

“Emergency management, including disaster response, is a major part of Volunteer Florida’s mission in serving the people of Florida,” said Chester W. Spellman, Volunteer Florida CEO. “Our Emergency Management team worked tirelessly with flood-impacted counties to secure this federal grant so that our local partners can provide one-on-one support to families impacted by the spring flooding.” 

Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Bryan W. Koon said, “The Division of Emergency Management works to ensure that Florida is prepared to respond to emergencies as well as recover from them. This grant will greatly enhance our efforts in the Florida Panhandle.  Governor Scott, Volunteer Florida and the Division of Emergency Management will continue to work closely together on this and other emergency management initiatives.” 

Sen. Don Gaetz said, “Local agencies know their communities’ best. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Scott, this funding, which provides a construction manager and disaster case managers to advocate for our flood-impacted families, will greatly help the Panhandle’s recovery.” 

Rep. Matt Gaetz said, “This grant will breathe life into recovery efforts.  Since May, we have been working with impacted counties and local relief organizations to assist families, but this extra funding will go a long way to bridge the gap between resources and the families who need them.”