Hurricane Irma Recovery

Photo of chart for building a Long-Term Recovery Strategy for Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017 as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 132 mph and storm surge up to 8 feet. Due to the linear geography of the island chain, some parts of the Keys were hit harder than others. The brunt of the damage was sustained in the Lower Keys,  from about Mile Marker 10 to 40 and near where Irma's eye made landfall over Cudjoe Key. Check out NOAA's Hurricane Irma Summary.

In Monroe County, three victims drowned during the Hurricane and another 14 people died due to Hurricane-related causes, including being unable to obtain life-saving medical treatment, according to the Monroe County Medical Examiner. More than 40 injuries were reported after the storm. 

Monroe County estimates that 1,179 homes were destroyed throughout the Keys, and another 2,977 homes suffered major damage of the total 55,000 housing units in the Keys. Of these numbers, the hardest-hit areas were the mobile homes, manufactured homes and RVs where 378 sustained major damage and 666 were destroyed. 

Hurricane Irma dramatically demonstrated the benefit of investment in a hardened infrastructure.  The primary roadway system, water and waste water systems remained largely resilient to these natural forces.  The electrical grid and the communications system, however, remain highly vulnerable to wind and storm surge. 

While Monroe County was responding to the aftermath of the hurricane in the weeks following the storm, some people in the County already were beginning to focus on post disaster redevelopment. That focus has continued the past year and a half and will continue to help its residents and business owners recover.

We must collaborate across all sectors of the community to continue to focus on building resiliency and face the wide-ranging challenges left by Hurricane Irma. With a full range of federal, state, local, non-profit and philanthropic dollars available to this disaster-devastated region, we are looking to provide a community-wide, unified vision for a safer, more resilient Florida Keys.


REBUILD FLORIDA: Repair, replace and elevate damaged homes


Rebuild Florida is a state run program with federal funding through the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD and County support. Florida is slated to receive $616 million in the first round. This money will help qualified families/residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Irma repair or rebuild their homes. It also is available for property owners who rent to qualified households. The GREAT NEWS: $90 Million has been set aside for the Florida Keys in the first round. 

TINY HOMES: Building stronger and safer

The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approved in December 2018 the building of four “Tiny Homes” to serve as code-compliant models for residents who are rebuilding after losing their mobile homes during Hurricane Irma. The County solicited vendor proposals to design and build four different resilient code compliant prototype Tiny homes on County-owned land. These replacement homes will be safer and better suited to survive future storms. 

Irma Housing Grants Program: Building Affordable Workforce Housing

  • For more information about Irma Housing Grants and Programs, click here.
  • For more information about HUD Funding for Irma Recovery, click here.



1-305-859-IRMA (4762)

  • Are you finding it hard to get back to normal? 
  • Are you having trouble determining next steps?
  • Do you need help navigating available resources?

There is help available. Call the hotline to reach Compass 82, a nonprofit that specializes in navigating disaster recovery resources. Compass 82 has partnered with Volunteer Florida to provide disaster case management to residents who were affected by Hurricane Irma. 


A Long Term Recovery Group also has been working for months to help. Go to the LTRG's website page for more information.

NON-PROFIT PROGRAMS: To assist Irma Victims


FEMA's Direct Temporary Housing Program for Hurricane Irma is scheduled to end March 10, 2019 - a year and a half after the storm struck on Sept. 10, 2017.

By January 10, 2019, End of Program letters will be delivered to the remaining occupants reminding them that the term of the Direct Housing Assistance is ending on March 10, 2019 and that the occupant should find more permanent housing by that date.

As of Dec. 26, 2018, there are 63 households living in FEMA temporary trailers in the Keys and 12 households living in FEMA direct-leased properties. This is down from the original 243 households (215 in travel trailers and 28 in direct-leased properties) who have stayed temporarily in housing supplied by FEMA.

Irma Helpline Flyer South Florida (002)

Non-Profit Programs to Assist Irma Victims

Photo of Samuels House and logos

The non-profit, through Samuel's House, has been awarded the following grant funding programs to assist victims in the Florida Keys as follows:

Red Cross- Recovery In The Keys:
A License Clinical Social Worker is available to help survivors of Hurricane Irma with "One-on-One assistance to individuals and families." Please call Lynda Woods, LCSW@ (305) 942-6906 - by appointment only.

Volunteer Florida (Florida Disaster Funds) - Brick & Mortar:
Funding has been awarded to Samuel's House for home repairs and rebuilding efforts with a threshold of up to $20,000 per home.

Red Cross -  Intermediate Needs
Grant funds have been awarded to Samuel's House for basic needs which include clothing, hygiene, medical services, lease and rental assistance, security deposits and related relocation expenses, mortgage assistance, utilities assistance and other related items.

Red Cross -  Rebuilding in the  Keys:  Brick & Mortar:
Funding is available and awarded to help with rebuilding and repairs to homes throughout the Florida Keys; there is a threshold of $16,500 per residence.

For further information and assistance please call or text Elmira Leto@ {305) 434-6564 between the hours of 9 a.m.  and 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Funds are limited. Make that call today!



As of Sept. 4, 2018, Monroe County homeowners, renters and businesses have received more than $514 million in federal funding to help them recover from Hurricane Irma, according to information provided by FEMA.


As of Dec. 19, 2018, the County has submitted $43.8 million in projects for FEMA reimbursement. FEMA has obligated (approved) about $8.6 million and made it available to the State for distribution to the County. The State also does a review process before sending the money to the County. The County has received $6.5 million from the State -- of the County's FEMA-obligated funds.