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Hurricane Ian survivors eligible for transitional sheltering

People unable to return to their homes in 19 counties including Lee, Charlotte and Hardee are able to apply for assistance.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — People in Florida impacted by Hurricane Ian could be eligible for the transitional sheltering assistance program, the White House announced Friday.

The state of Florida and the Federal Emergency Management Agency activated the program for people in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns and Volusia counties.

Hurricane Ian survivors in these Florida counties who apply and are approved will be able to shelter in a hotel or motel paid for by FEMA, government officials said. The program is open to people unable to return to their homes and housing needs can't be met by insurance, shelters or rental assistance provided by FEMA or another agency. 

Those who are eligible will be alerted with an automated phone call, text or email, depending on what method of communication they selected when filling out the application. 

The program will pay for the cost of room, tax and non-refundable pet fees directly to participating hotels and motels, officials report. Hurricane Ian survivors will be responsible for additional costs such as laundry, room service, parking, telephone, food transportation and other services. 

Eligibility is determined on an individual basis. Apply by clicking here. You can also call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-3362, or use the FEMA mobile app. 

Since Hurricane Ian hit the southwest Floria region, First Lady Casey DeSantis has led the effort to raise money for the state's private fund. She has helped raise nearly $40 million so far, Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday afternoon.

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