MIAMI, FL – Congressman Carlos A. Gimenez (FL-26) urged President Biden to approve federal emergency Individual Assistance (IA) for Monroe County by designating it as a Category A region under FEMA. In the letter sent to the White House, Gimenez underscored the importance for Monroe to receive assistance with debris removal and eligibility for IA after significant damage to homes and businesses.

Additionally, Congressman Gimenez joined a letter to President Joe Biden, led by Representative Darren Soto (FL-9), along with members of the Florida congressional delegation, in urging President Biden to approve Individual Assistance for all 67 counties in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian.

Currently, Monroe County is designated Category B, making the county eligible for only partial assistance for emergency protective measures. The Category A designation would make Monroe County a priority for emergency work, including debris removal and qualify individuals for assistance. By getting the ground cleared, we can quickly eliminate immediate threats of significant damage to properties in the Florida Keys, and lay the groundwork for safe rebuild of local infrastructure. 

As of October 3rd, Monroe County has not been included in President Biden’s list of major disaster declaration areas in Florida. This declaration triggers the crucial federal funds and resources for counties most impacted by Hurricane Ian.

The full text of Congressman Gimenez’s letter is below.

Dear President Biden, 

Thank you for working with the Florida Governor and state and local officials in declaring a state of emergency in Florida due to Hurricane Ian. The full-encompassing damage caused by this historic natural disaster remains to be assessed. Hurricane Ian's profound impact has affected a vast majority of our residents who have already experienced power outages, destruction to their properties, flooding, and other widespread damage. Additionally, the Key West International Airport suffered destructive damage to the EMAS on Runway 27 and this damage is estimated to be $7 Million. Regular commercial airline operations will be severely impacted if repairs are not done very soon. 

As we enter the recovery phase, I urge your administration to add Monroe County to the list of counties set to receive federal emergency assistance by designating Monroe as a Category A assisting with debris removal and allowing eligibility for Individual Assistance (IA). 

The Florida Keys in Monroe County experienced significant damage as it relates to extensive flood and property damage to homes and businesses. Further, in addition to damage to Key West International Airport, preliminary assessments indicate significant damage to other critical infrastructure including public housing facilities, transmission lines and piers. Providing the county with the necessary tools and resources is crucial to assisting individuals and businesses impacted by flooding and to restoring the functions of local government and utility operations. 

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you on this issue and welcome any opportunity to discuss this matter.