Recovery group still chasing funds for Ian's victims

Categories: Stories of Impact, COMMUNITY CARE: Emergency Needs & Disaster Relief, Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund,

VENICE On the eve of the second hurricane season since Hurricane Ian ravaged the area, many Sun Coast residents are still in recovery mode, and United Way of South Sarasota County is still looking for money to help them.

UWSSC has completed 35 rebuilds, COO Chris Johnson said at Friday's Long-Term Recovery Group meeting, with three in progress.

Another seven are awaiting the arrival of workers from Mennonite Disaster Service in mid-June, and more will be ready to start when World Renew crews return in September, he said.

But there are still more than 200 open cases among the agencies managing them, with another two dozen not yet assigned a case manager.

Johnson said UWSSC has some foundation money coming in, and is hopeful of getting funds for larger projects when Sarasota County opens the housing recovery phase of its Resilient SRQ program.

The application window for the $40 million allocated for rehabilitation, reconstruction and homeowner reimbursement had been projected to open at the end of May but it hasn't yet been finalized.

Recent applications for assistance have been larger $25,000 and up, compared to $7,000 or so earlier, he said.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County will be accepting applications for the remainder of its Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund, CFSC Director of Community Impact Michelle Croft told the group.

It raised $5 million after Ian struck in September 2022 but has already distributed much of the money in two prior grant cycles. About one-third of the funds went for home repair and housing needs.

The final grant cycle will close at the beginning of August, she said, with funds being disbursed at the end of the month.