MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that federal, state, local, private sector and nonprofit partners have come together to create SurfsideStrength.com.
It is an emotional support and assistance platform for survivors, families, first responders, and those affected by the tragedy in Surfside to receive much-needed support.
The office of the governor said there are currently more than 440 first responders and state workers on-site to support ongoing search and recovery efforts.
State response efforts include:
Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM)
• FDEM Director and State Coordinating Officer Kevin Guthrie has requested a federal Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Force to be deployed to Surfside to ensure additional first responders are available in the event of severe weather. Additionally, the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) is providing meteorological updates to responding teams in Surfside and has contingency plans in place to respond to concurrent disasters if needed.
• FDEM issued Emergency Order 21-004, which waives certain requirements that pertain to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s affordable housing programs, to make additional housing units available for individuals impacted by the collapse.
• The state has mental wellness teams and critical incident stress management resources on-site to support the mental health of USAR responders.
• The State Mental Health Coordinator is on-site and working with the Florida Crisis Response Team and local organizations to centralize available mental health resources.
Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)
• DEO announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved an Administrative Declaration for Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and Monroe counties, which provides Economic Injury Disaster Loans, Business Physical Disaster Loans and Home Disaster Loans to eligible individuals and businesses impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application through the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.SBA.gov.
• DEO is working diligently with the SBA to provide additional resources for businesses impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
• DEO has a mobile unit on-scene in the Surfside business district with deployed personnel coordinating available business resources.
• DEO Secretary Dane Eagle has visited dozens of area businesses to personally assess the impacts on their business and employees.
• DEO also has a team located in the Family Assistance Center to assist with housing and business resources.
Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
• DEP issued an Emergency Final Order (EFO) waiving permitting requirements for the storage and processing of solid waste. The EFO also includes guidance for disaster debris and asbestos management to assist in ongoing rescue and recovery efforts.
Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing)
• Florida Housing has identified more than 120 multifamily rental developments in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties to provide emergency housing to displaced individuals.
• Florida Housing has requested that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) waive income limitations and other provisions to allow individuals impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse to reside in any vacant unit of HOME-funded properties.
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV)
• FLHSMV issued Emergency Order 062621, which waives replacement fees for driver license and identification credentials, vehicle registrations and titles, vessel registrations and titles and temporary parking permits for impacted individuals.
• FLHSMV is providing no-fee driver license and motor vehicles services to impacted individuals at the Family Assistance Center and is coordinating with the Red Cross to identify any individuals needing assistance.
• Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is providing traffic control in the Surfside area and security at the FLHSMV mobile units.
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
• FDOT personnel are on-site to assist with debris removal around-the-clock. Additional heavy equipment is being deployed from other areas of the state to assist with search and rescue efforts.
• FDOT continues to fulfill resource requests by Miami-Dade County for additional traffic maintenance devices.
• FDOT began debris removal operations with contract support and continues to provide additional equipment as needed.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)
• FDLE is ready to deploy resources to the Regional Domestic Security
Task Force in the Miami-Dade County area as needed for ongoing rescue and recovery efforts.
• FDLE is providing staffing at the Miami-Dade Emergency Operations Center and Command Center as needed.
• FDLE agents and analysts are assisting with family reunification efforts and victim advocacy for survivors and their loved ones.
Florida Department of Education (DOE)
• DOE is collaborating with Miami-Dade Public Schools to identify health counseling and resources for families of those impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF)
• DCF is on-site providing assistance and mental health resources to impacted families at the Family Assistance Center.
• DCF is coordinating with Miami-Dade County to distribute gift cards to displaced individuals at the Family Assistance Center.
Florida Department of Health (FDOH)
• FDOH is supporting the request to activate the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response Team for recovery operations.
• FDOH is coordinating with local partners on-site to assess and respond to any potential public health hazards.
• FDOH has activated the Florida Crisis Consortium to provide behavioral health care for impacted individuals at the Family Reunification Center.
Florida Department of Management Services (DMS)
• DMS is coordinating with the state’s tenant broker to locate a warehouse to store donations for individuals impacted by the Surfside Building Collapse.
• DMS is currently procuring commodities for debris removal from the site.
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR)
• The DBPR Condominium Ombudsman is available locally to provide assistance and resources for impacted individuals.
Volunteer Florida and Nonprofit Organizations
• Cash is the most flexible and effective form of donation. Two verified funds have been launched by established, local organizations to receive monetary donations: SupportSurfside.org and Neighbors4Neighbors.org/SurfsideFund.
• Volunteer Florida is on-site to assist in coordination of physical donations and resource management alongside local organizations actively meeting the needs of those displaced by the Surfside Building Collapse.
• Good360, a nonprofit disaster relief organization, is donating 1,000 buckets for the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Task Forces to assist in the debris removal process.
Individuals with information about loved ones who are unaccounted for, or are safe, are encouraged to call the reunification hotline at (305) 614-1819.
Impacted individuals can register for updates and access to resources through a centralized alert system by visiting SurfsideFamilies.com or calling toll-free at (833) 930-3701.