SWFL residents eligible for FEMA assistance

FORT MYERS, Fla. All of Southwest Florida is now eligible for individual assistance from FEMA.

FEMA added DeSoto, Glades, Hendry and Highlands counties to its Hurricane Irma relief list Wednesday. They join Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties, which were part of President Donald Trump’s original major disaster declaration on Sunday.

Homeowners, renters and business owners may apply for federal disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from Hurricane Irma. The damage must be related to the storm and have occurred no earlier than Sept. 4, FEMA said.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.

Long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance.

Residents are urged to register with FEMA as soon as possible. If you preregistered with FEMA, you do not have to apply again. If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register:

Online at DisasterAssistance.gov, or on the FEMA Mobile App, or by calling 800-621-3362.

Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362.

People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY may call 800-462-7585.

The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, seven days a week.

Multilingual operators are available. Press 2 for Spanish and press 3 for other languages.