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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis Brings Clarity on Federal Flooding Relief

August 7, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, Congressman Bilirakis issued the following update to constituents in Congressional District 12 regarding the availability of flooding relief:

“I know many constituents throughout Congressional District 12 have experienced extreme hardship as a result of recent floods throughout the Tampa Bay area. I have personally visited neighborhoods and talked with residents who still have water in their homes and are unable to safely navigate the streets in their communities.  It is important for these constituents to know that they are not alone.  Officials at the federal, state and local levels are working together to take the necessary steps to provide relief.  The following information is designed to help residents understand the processes that must occur in securing that relief. 

Last week, local officials declared a local state of emergency in their respective counties.  This alerted state emergency management officials that there was a problem in multiple counties.  On August 6, 2015, Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a state of emergency for several counties, including:  Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas (Executive Order Number 2015-158).  With this action, the Governor has taken the first of a series of steps to ensure that the state will be eligible for federal aid.  The state of emergency declaration activates statewide resources to assist local governments with the process of damage assessment.  Statewide, there must be approximately $27 million in damages in order for the Governor to a make a request for a federal disaster declaration.  This is a separate and distinctive action than the state of emergency that was declared on August 6, 2015 by the Governor.  The assessment reports will likely take a few weeks to compile as the water often must recede before officials can assess total damages to properties, homes and roads.

There are three types of requests for federal disaster declaration that can be made by the Governor:  individual assistance, public assistance or both.  Governor Scott will make this decision after receiving all of the assessment reports from impacted counties.  There are many factors involved in that decision including but not limited to:  ratio of uninsured/insured loss, extent of damage to public infrastructure and extent of damage to individual property.  It will likely take a few weeks for this decision to be made by Governor Scott.  Until a request is made from the Governor for a Federal Disaster Declaration, no federal aid can be provided.  As a proactive step, I have alerted FEMA Director Craig Fugate by way of letter to the situation in Tampa Bay.  I have requested that he provide any necessary technical support that the state might need in seeking this declaration and asked that the agency stand ready and willing to expedite the request once it is made.  I will continue to monitor progress and assist local and state leaders by facilitating open dialogue with federal agencies,” Bilirakis said.

In the meantime, anyone who has damage should:

  • Contact local social service entities for immediate support.
  • Report their damage to the appropriate county officials so it can be included in the state assessment report.

Please see the links below for county specific contact information:

Pasco County:  https://www.pascocountyfl.net/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1041

Pinellas County:  https://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/

Hillsborough County:  https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/emergency/

“Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families who are struggling.  If you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 727-232-2921,” Bilirakis concluded.