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Marianna, FL –Today, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Nelson (D-FL) and members of the Florida delegation sent a letter urging FEMA Administrator Brock Long to approve Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request to initiate the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for the remaining 13 counties impacted by Major Hurricane Michael: Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla. The TSA program would offer short-term lodging assistance for eligible disaster survivors displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Michael. Yesterday, FEMA informed the state that Bay County had been approved.

Joining the Senators in sending the letter were Representatives Neal Dunn (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), and Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

The full text of the letter is below.

Dear Administrator Long:

As you know, Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida’s panhandle five days ago, and communities are in the initial recovery stages. Many Floridians have been displaced from their homes and communities. As such, we write in support of the State of Florida’s request for the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program. While we were pleased that the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved TSA for Bay County yesterday evening, it is critical that the TSA program is extended to all 14 counties requested by the state, so that survivors have needed housing options in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

The TSA program, which provides short-term lodging in hotels and motels, is essential as many people return to destroyed or otherwise uninhabitable homes after the storm. While we appreciate the federal government’s quick approval of a major disaster declaration designation for Florida, we must ensure all necessary resources are used in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Countless homes were inundated with water damage and available housing will be an ongoing issue for Floridians in the affected area. As such, prompt approval of the TSA program will provide some comfort while survivors recover and rebuild after this catastrophic storm.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely, 

Timeline of Rubio Actions Related to Hurricane Michael:

  • On October 12, 208, Rubio surveyed the damage caused by Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle.
  • On October 12, 2018, Senators Rubio and Nelson with Rep. Neal Dunn urged Secretary Wilson and General Goldfein to expedite repair and restoration operations at Tyndall Air Force Base, which was critically impacted during Hurricane Michael.
  • On October 11,2018, Senators Rubio and Nelson urged Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Robert Wilkie to authorize increased outreach efforts and benefits assistance for Florida veterans impacted by Hurricane Michael.
  • On October 11, 2018, FEMA Administrator Brock Long briefed Rubio on damage caused by Hurricane Michael.
  • On October 10, 2018, ahead of Hurricane Michael’s landfall, Rubio urged Attorney General Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig to assist communities affected by the storm.  
  • On October 10, 2018, following Hurricane Michael’s landfall, Rubio, Nelson and Florida Representatives urged President Donald Trump to approve Florida’s request for a major disaster declaration. Today, the President approved the State of Florida’s major disaster declaration.
  • On October 9, 2018, Rubio joined Senator Nelson and Florida Representatives in urging President Trump to approve Florida Governor Rick Scott’s request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Michael. 

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