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Federal Resources Following Hurricane Ian


Date: September 30, 2022


From: Wanda Minick


As Floridians begin to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ian, please see the following federal resources available for Florida families and businesses. Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida and impacted Central and Northeast Florida. This was a major storm and demands a well-coordinated response and recovery effort from our federal, state, and local leaders. Families across the state are hurting, but help is on the way, and Florida will recover. I Thank Senator Rick Scott and Seantor Marco Rubio's offices for sharing this information with us. I have communicated with both offices and the Save the Children organization to see how they can help our members. 

  • FEMA: FEMA’s role is to help communities prepare for and recover from disasters. Find information about Hurricane Ian on FEMA’s website HERE, by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-FEMA (800-621-3362), or registering online at DisasterAssistance.gov. 

  • National Flood Insurance Program: Following a Presidential Disaster Declaration, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders are encouraged to apply for FEMA disaster assistance in addition to their flood insurance claim. Policyholders impacted by Hurricane Ian are encouraged to contact their insurance agents as soon as possible for more information about filing a claim. Get more details about filing a claim HERE, or reach NFIP assistance directly HERE, or by calling 1-877-336-2627.  

Once starting a claim, FEMA suggests documenting all damage, including photos and videos, recording serial numbers, and securing receipts. FEMA also recommends policyholders should take steps to stop the spread of mold if safe to do so.  

  • Citizens Property Insurance: Citizens Property Insurance is urging policyholders to contact them as soon as possible in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Citizens representatives can be reached online HERE, or by calling 1-866-411-2742. Additionally, Citizens is warning policyholders to be wary of unlicensed contractors and “deals that sound too good to be true.” Policyholders are discouraged from signing anything before consulting with an insurance agent. Citizens policyholders can report suspected fraud online HERE, or by calling 1-855-748-9596.  

  • U.S. Housing and Urban Development: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers disaster recovery assistance following Presidentially-declared disasters. Read more from HUD HERE. 

Helpful Resources for Businesses:  

U.S. Small Business Administration: Following a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters.  

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity: The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s website floridadisaster.biz provides information about preparing, responding to and recovering from a disaster. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to Hurricane Ian. Survey responses will allow the state to expedite Hurricane Ian recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses. 

Additional Resources:  

Food and Water: As information becomes available, Floridians in need of food and water can find a nearby point of distribution location HERE. Storms can affect public water treatment plants, water lines and private wells—citizens affected by the storms must err on the side of caution until their water is tested. Learn about Boil Water Notices from the Florida Department of Health HERE.  

Medications: Early prescription refills are permitted during a state-declared State of Emergency. Learn more from the Florida Department of Health HERE.  

National Disaster Distress Hotline: Health and Human Services and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a National Disaster Distress Hotline (800-985-5990), video conference is available for the deaf or hard of hearing HERE.  

Shelter: Shelters are currently open and available, and locations can be found HERE, or through the American Red Cross HERE, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).   

Mental Health Resources: You are not alone. If you are in need of support through any disaster, crisis or circumstance, please reach out. Florida 211 connects individuals to local helpline call centers that have crisis counselors for disaster recovery and can provide information on access to local resources such as housing, food and health care. Connect by phone 24/7 by dialing: 2-1-1. Also, the American Red Cross Disaster Distress Helpline is a national helpline that provides crisis support services for individuals in emotional distress that are impacted by disaster. Connect by phone 24/7 by calling or texting 1-800-985-5990.  

Price Gouging Hotline: Florida Attorney General Moody’s Price Gouging Hotline remains open for Floridians statewide to report instances of severe price increases on essential commodities needed to prepare for the storm. Florida’s price gouging law only applies to commodities and services essential to preparing for, or recovering from, a storm during a declared state of emergency. If you feel you have been a victim of price gouging, report online HERE, by calling 1-866-9NO-SCAM, or by downloading the NO SCAM app.    

Report a Loved One Sheltering in Place: Provide critical information to first responders regarding individuals who have made the decision to shelter in place. This information can help first responders address the needs of impacted households as quickly as possible. Learn more HERE. 

Helpful Reminders: 

  • Use extreme caution when operating heavy machinery, generators, or while removing debris. Never use generators indoors and keep them away from windows, doors and vents.  
  • Do not drive or walk through flood waters. Be aware of downed power lines, standing water and other hidden hazards. 
  • Stay off roads so that emergency workers are able to get through.
  • Hurricane Preparedness Checklist.pdf 

COVID 19 Resources

Our primary concerns are the health and safety of our members, their staff, and their families. We encourage you and your staff to comply with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention CDC recommendations and take all precautionary measures here. Below are some additional resources which will be updated as they become available.  For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling (866) 779-6121. The Call Center is available 24 hours per day. Inquiries may also be emailed to [email protected]

Office of Head Start Resources: 

For any OHS-specific questions related to Head Start programs, please check in with your Program Specialist.

 Coronavirus Prevention and Response

Wage & benefit flexibility: In response to COVID-19, OHS is advising grantees to coordinate with local health authorities and implement their existing policies and procedures related to the closure of Head Start centers during infectious disease outbreaks. Closure of centers in areas heavily impacted by COVID-19 is an important element of containing and limiting its spread.

Food flexibility: Head Start and Early Head Start programs may provide meals and snacks to children during center closures. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has waived its group setting meal requirement for closed schools and authorized special flexibilities for many states.
General Disaster Recovery Flexibilities ACF-IM-HS-19-01

National Head Start Association Resources

COVID-19 Destination Reopening Playbook, updated July 2020

Other Resources and Information:

White House/CDC/FEMA Guidance on Coronavirus, check for latest updates
Daily Situation Reports from the World Health Organization (WHO), situation reports
FNS Program Guidance on Human Pandemic Response- U.S. Department of Agriculture
Florida Department of Children and Families
Florida Department of Education, OEL
Florida Department of Health
The White House
Office of Child Care
Institute for Childhood Preparedness

Should I Close My Child Care Program? A Coronavirus Flowchart- Child Care Aware® of America
Map: Coronavirus and School Closures - Education Week
COVID-19 Response for Students Who are Homeless or With Experience in Foster Care - Hope Center
Forgivable Loans for Child Care Providers through the CARES Act: CLASPadded April 6, 2020 
Guidance for Childcare Programs that Remain Open, updated January 28, 2022
A guide to internet service during the pandemic, updated May 11, 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19) guide for parents, UNICEF, added May 20, 2020 
Resources available focusing on your health, Simply Healthcare, added May 21, 2020 
Telehealth and Online Mental Health Resources During COVID-19 Pandemic, Sunshine Behavioral Health, updated March 20, 2021
FDA Warnings about the Dangers of Hand Sanitizers With Methanol, updated October 12, 2021
Lifeline During Coronavirus Pandemic updated May 28, 2021 

Food Services & Distribution: 

USDA Announces Online Tool to Help Families Find Meals for Kids During COVID-19 Emergency, the Meals for Kids site finder. (added April 17, 2020)

CACFP During COVID-19: New USDA Flexibilities Offer Program Options: FRAC Food Research & Action Center (Webinar added April 6, 2020)

Free Resources from FHSA members to help provide support to Teachers and Families: 

Our Friends at TeachingStrategies®  has partnered with the founders of Baby Einstein and created a new app for parents and families of young children from birth through age 5. ParentPal™ is an all-in-one personal parenting coach, providing tools to take the guesswork out of parenting. To support parents and families at home during these challenging times, we are offering access to ParentPal™ at no cost through June 30, 2020, excited to extend this free access period until later this summer.  ParentPal™ provides families a daily roadmap to follow each day that promotes active, joyful engagement and developmentally appropriate progress through key developmental milestones from birth through age 3, with additional activities and support, such as Mighty Minutes® activities, through age 5. Click here to learn more. 

Our friends at Frogstreet are offering a Summer Program and Online Parent Resources. Frog Street Summer Program is a 4-week complete review of key literacy and math skills for young learners to prepare children for Kindergarten Readiness.  The instruction is fully English and Spanish. They are also providing Online Parent Resources which are complementary activities to help young learners ages 3-5 years old to use at home during school closures due to COVID-19.

Our friends at Lakeshore have over 1,000 FREE resources designed to support essential skills in math, language, science and social studies for pre-k through elementary grades. These resources are for parents as well as teachers needing to help their children learn at home. 

Our friends at Kaplan are offering hundreds of different FREE resources including how-to videos and directions to create fun and learning while in a center or at home! 

Our friends at Teachstone have developed a place of helpful Coronavirus resources such as blog posts, their CLASS® at Home guide, and other downloadable resources. They are committed to keeping this page updated with all of their latest resources so be sure to bookmark it.

Our friends at Nemours has also shared some additional resources for your use. Use this link to read their Q & A about the virus. The links below are materials teachers can use in their classrooms to promote excellent hygiene. These materials are part of Nemours Kids Health in the Classroom series, which can be handy in the class as well as sharing with parents and children of all ages. 

Our friends at Ready4K are offering its virtual parenting curriculum and family engagement tool, free for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Ready4K is an evidence-based whole-child curriculum that provides fun facts and at-home learning activity ideas for children ages 0-9, all delivered via text message. Implementation is quick and easy, so all of your families can start getting activities within a week.

Effective immediately we are implementing several changes to Ready4K to better serve families and partners during this difficult time.

  • Additional support messages focused on COVID-19 topics, like hygiene, dealing with pandemic anxiety, and social connection in a virtual world
  • Providing a communications system for sharing vital information with your families, including a dedicated messaging number and unlimited messaging through the end of the school year
  • Enhanced support for families with more than one child with activities for each child based on age or grade level
  • Child Nutrition Pandemic Planning Guidelines

Free Resources for Families and Teachers: