Rick Scott announces new Florida Disaster Fund to help storm victims

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Relief is coming to thousands of Floridians affected by a violent storm system last week, which brought massive rainfall and flooding to the Panhandle and North Gulf Coast regions, causing at least one death.

On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott announced the creation of a new Florida Disaster Fund. The Fund helps Floridians impacted by disasters by coordinating support and local recovery efforts.

“Last week I saw first-hand the devastation that recent flooding has left behind in Florida’s Panhandle,” Scott said of his tour of affected areas. “Floridians and businesses have already stepped up to help their neighbors, and activating the Florida Disaster Fund is the next step in the ongoing recovery efforts.

“Through the Florida Disaster Fund, we can leverage donations for long-term assistance.”

Earlier this week, Scott received approval for federal disaster relief for both Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.

“We thank Governor Scott for his support of the local organizations that serve families and individuals impacted by the flooding,” said Chester Spellman, Executive Director of the Volunteer Florida Foundation, which administers the Florida Disaster Fund. “Our goal is to ensure that volunteers and donations are supported in the most effective and helpful way and activating the Florida Disaster Fund is one of the best ways to do that.”

Volunteer Florida, the quasi-governmental non-profit relief organization, accepts donations through a link on its website.  In a disaster, they will collaborate with both the public and private sectors to facilitate response and recovery activities using resources from the Fund. Money will be distributed to disaster relief organizations.

Eligible applicants will include long-term recovery organizations and other non-profits, both faith-based and secular.

In addition to the Florida Disaster Fund, Scott encourages individuals to donate to the disaster relief organizations of their choice.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.