Dear Neighbor,

Hurricane Irma left a disastrous effect on South Florida. My office and I are here to help anyway we can to make the process of rebuilding the Florida Keys and restoring Miami-Dade to the one-of-a-kind paradise we all call home as easy as possible.

Following President Trump’s approval of a Major Disaster Declaration, there are multiple federal resources available to our community as we rebuild and recover.

Below you will find information for staying safe in the immediate aftermath and steps to begin filing claims for individual disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and business assistance with the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as helpful resources from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). To stay updated with the situation on the ground in Monroe County, follow the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners on Facebook here. 

If you need any assistance navigating this process, please call my office at 202-225-2778.

Representative Carlos Curbelo 


  1. Call 911 first
  2.  Then your local emergency management agency.
    • Monroe County: Dial 1-800-955-5504
    • Miami-Dade County: Dial 3-1-1
  3. If you are unable to connect with your local emergency services, then call the U.S. Coast Guard.
    • Sector Key West CC: (304) 433-3352
    • Sector Miami CC: (305) 953-4617

Those who have evacuated should continue to monitor local radio or TV stations for updated emergency information. Evacuees should not return to evacuated areas until they are told by local officials that it is safe to do so. Preemptively returning can pose significant safety risks to both evacuees and first responders.



  • Avoid debris, downed power lines, and flood water, which may be electrically charged and hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away. Avoid downed power or utility lines as they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • Emergency workers may be assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way as much as possible.
  • If your home has flood water inside or around it, don’t walk or wade in it. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage.
  • If you have a flooded basement in your home, never attempt to turn off power or operate circuit breakers while standing in water.
  • If your power is out, safely use a generator or battery-operated flashlights.
  • Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open.
  • Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions.
  • Avoid plugging emergency generators into electric outlets or hooking them directly to your home's electrical system – they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.


1.    If you need immediate assistance:

  • Emergency ShelterLocate options by zip codeby visiting the American Red Cross, or Salvation Army, or by texting SHELTER and your zip code (for example, “SHELTER 01234”) to 4FEMA (43362). (Standard text message rates apply.)
  • Immediate NeedsContact your local emergency management agency for help or referral to trusted disaster assistance partners serving your area.
    • Monroe County: Dial 1-800-955-5504
    • Miami-Dade County: Dial 3-1-1

2. If you need financial assistance:


There are several ways to see if you qualify for financial assistance:

  • Use the address lookup on to find out if you qualify for aid.
  • Fill out the questionnaire and online aid application.
  • Call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585)
  • To get help in person, find a Disaster Recovery Center near you with the Disaster Recovery Center locator

Home/Primary Residence: FEMA provides housing assistance to individuals and families who have lost their homes as a result of a presidentially-declared disaster. If you are a renter or homeowner you may qualify for assistance.  By law, FEMA assistance cannot duplicate the assistance you receive from your insurance company, but you may receive assistance for items not covered by insurance.  If your home was impacted by a major disaster, we recommendthat you apply for assistance here.

BusinessThe Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest loans for business damages.  Learn more about the business loan application process here.

How the IRS Can help with tax assistance:

  • IRS has a special toll-free number (866-562-5227) for taxpayers with questions in federally-declared disaster areas.
  • IRS can assist with reconstructing records. Use Get Transcript tool, Form 4506-T and Form 4506

How the VA can help with assistance: If you need assistance seeking medication or care from the VA in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, please call the Miami-VA Executive Director's office at (305) 575-7000. 

Other Needs Assistance: FEMA offers disaster assistance for some of your other disaster-caused expenses including, medical and dental, child care, funeral and burial, essential household items, moving and storage, vehicle, and some clean-up items.

3. If you applied for assistance, what's next?


Small Business Administration Application: Some applications for disaster assistance require you to also submit an SBA application before FEMAcan determine your eligibility for assistance.  Learn more about the home and property disaster loan application.

Inspection: You will receive a call from FEMA within 10 days of submitting your application to schedule an appointment for a home inspector to visit you. In the event of a catastrophic disaster an inspector may take longer to visit you.


After the Inspection

If you qualify for a grant, FEMA will provide you:

  • A check by mail or a direct deposit into your checking or savings account, and
  • A letter describing how you are to use the money.

If you do not qualify for a grant, FEMA will provide you:

  • A letter explaining why you did not qualify, and
  • An opportunity to appeal the decision.



After a disaster, many people want to volunteer their services or donate money or goods. FEMA provides information and tips on volunteering and donating responsibly after a natural disaster.  


Do not just "show up" to volunteer assistance. This actually makes things harder for responders. The following groups and organizations provide information on helping survivors of natural disasters:


Follow me on social media for updates @RepCurbelo:

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1404 Longworth H.O.B.
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Miami, FL 33175
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Suite 1-213
Key West, FL 33040
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Florida City, FL 33034
P : (305) 247-1234