Make It A Million

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, United Way Suncoast’s ongoing recovery efforts include helping impacted community members around the state, and right here in our five-county footprint.

While most of United Way Suncoast’s coverage area escaped a direct hit, some cities and neighborhoods experienced catastrophic flooding and storm winds that decimated homes and businesses. DeSoto County and parts of Manatee and Sarasota County continue to struggle with recovery.

United Way Suncoast has already invested $500,000 in mid- and long-term recovery efforts for those most impacted by Hurricane Ian in its five-county footprint. These dollars are allocated to 20 agencies and focus on five specific areas: funding navigators; filling economic gaps for individuals and families; assisting quality childcare centers with storm recovery; supporting mental health agencies and granting programmatic dollars to nonprofits.

The need continues to grow, if you are able to give, know that your dollars will be directly matched by this investment. Our goal is to match dollar-for-dollar our current support and “Make It a Million.” Your donation will continue to fund and assist families recovering from this devastating storm.

Ways to Help

United Way Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund – support relief efforts in DeSoto, Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas and Hillsborough

United Way of Florida Disaster Recovery Fund – donations will be directed to communities most impacted by Hurricane Ian and can be made to support multiple communities or directed to a specific location/county.

Tampa Bay Resiliency Fund – a collaboration between United Way Suncoast, Pinellas Community Foundation, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, and Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg to provide critical funds for nonprofits supporting recovery efforts


Get Help

FEMA Assistance

  • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Assistance application deadline is January 12, 2023.
  • FEMA has set up a dedicated website for residents impacted by Hurricane Ian, with available resources and information to help with recovery. They also have a list of state and local resources to help with recovery and a https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4673
  • On Oct. 17, FEMA announced the opening of an additional Disaster Recovery Center in DeSoto County at the DeSoto Library: 125 N Hillsborough Ave., in Arcadia. The center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. There's also a Disaster Recovery Center operating at Shannon Staub Public Library, 4675 Career La., in North Port. Disaster Recovery Centers provide disaster survivors with information from Florida state agencies, FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Survivors can get help applying for federal assistance and disaster loans, update applications and learn about other resources available.

To apply for assistance:

When you apply for assistance, have the following information ready:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security number
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

You may be eligible to receive assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from Hurricane Ian. If you have homeowners, renters or flood insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If your policy does not cover all your disaster expenses, you may be eligible for federal assistance.

Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.

Disaster assistance may include financial help with temporary lodging and home repairs, as well as other disaster-related expenses.

Food Distribution

For clients in So SRQ County – Venice…North Port…Englewood

If you need supplies, clothing, toiletries, water, food, etc. to recover from the impact of Hurricane Ian, please stop by the United Way of South Sarasota County office.

  • Distribution is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
  • We are located at 4242 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice, FL. 34293 (behind the Outback Steakhouse & next to the Books-a-Million)

If you have any questions or need other assistance, please call the UWSSC Office at 941-484-4811.

Thank you to all who have donated and volunteered to make this possible, we could not do this without you!


Sarasota County

Englewood Center Plaza

200 S. Indiana Ave.

Englewood, FL 34223


San Pedro Catholic Church

14380 Tamiami Trail

North Port, FL 34287

Desoto County

DeSoto County Department of Emergency Management

2200 Northeast Roan St.

Arcadia, FL 34266


Save A Lot

1325 E. Oak St.

Arcadia, FL 34266


CR 661A

5600 CR 661A

Arcadia, FL 34266

Food Assistance (D-SNAP)

DCF Announces First Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) in Response to Hurricane Ian

Who is eligible for D-SNAP?

To qualify for D-SNAP benefits:

  • Applicants must NOT be receiving regular SNAP benefits
  • Applicants must have been living or working in a disaster-declared county at the time of Hurricane Ian
  • Applicants must have suffered a disaster-related lost such as:
    • Damage to their home(s) or self-employment property
    • Loss of food
    • Reduction or loss of income
    • Other disaster-related expenses
  • Applicants must meet financial eligibility requirements

What Benefits are Available through D-SNAP?

  • Eligible recipients who participate in the telephonic D-SNAP event will receive an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card by mail that can be used to purchase food at authorized USDA food retailers.
  • The EBT card cannot be used for alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, or non-food items.

How do I Apply for D-SNAP?

1. Pre-register online by visiting MyFLFamilies.com/DSNAP

  • Pre-registration is ONLY available for counties designated in each phase. View the Phase Schedule by County below.
  • Verification is required for certain elements of the application.
  • Eligibility can be determined more quickly and easily if a state driver’s license or identification number and a Social Security number is provided.
  • Pre-registration will only be open for counties listed in the current phase.
  • Residents who are unable to pre-register online can visit one of the D-SNAP event locations in-person when they are open.

2. After online pre-registration is complete, applicants must complete a phone interview by calling the D-SNAP Call Center or attend an on-site event at a later date.

  • Applicants may only call during the designated dates and operating hours for their county.
  • Phone interview times are designated based on the first letter of the applicant’s last name.
  • See Phase Schedule by County for details.
  • D-SNAP Call Center: 850-663-1919, Hours: 7 A.M. – 5 P.M. EST

PHASE ONE: Schedule by County (10/10 - 10/16)

  1. Online pre-registration will be OPEN for Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, Sarasota, and Polk counties from Monday, October 10 at 12:01 A.M. through Sunday, October 16 at 11:59 P.M.
  2. Pre-register online by visiting MyFLFamilies.com/DSNAP
  3. After pre-registration is complete, applicants in the Phase One Schedule must call the D-SNAP Call Center at 850-663-1919 between 7 A.M. AND 5 P.M. EST on the designated day listed below to complete a phone interview.
    • Last name begins with A-F: Call on Thursday, October 13
    • Last name begins with G-N: Call on Friday, October 14
    • Last name begins with O-Z: Call on Saturday, October 15
    • Any last name: Call on Sunday, October 16

PHASE ONE: Schedule by County (10/17 - 10/23)

Counties: Flagler, Highlands, Manatee, Orange, Pinellas, and St. Johns

Pre-Registration Dates: Monday, October 17 – Sunday, October 23

Telephonic Dates: Thursday, October 20 – Sunday, October 23

PHASE ONE: Schedule by County (10/24 - 10/27)

Counties: Hillsborough, Lake, Osceola, Putnam, Seminole, and Volusia

Pre-Registration Dates: Monday, October 24 – Sunday, October 30

Telephonic Dates: Thursday, October 27 – Sunday, October 30

The Department will hold in-person D-SNAP events for residents who cannot participate by phone. On-site locations will be announced soon. Residents who live or work in one of the eligible counties in phase two and three cannot pre-register until D-SAP is announced for these counties. Visit MyFLFamilies.com/HurricaneIan to learn more.

Unemployment Assistance

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced the  temporary waiver of the requirements for work search reporting, requiring a waiting week before benefits can be paid, and the requirement to register with Employ Florida to get critical unemployment benefits to those impacted by the storm.

Additionally, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available to Florida businesses and residents in the following counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Johns, and Volusia counties. Individuals must apply for traditional unemployment first and should indicate that they have been impacted by the disaster. DUA is available for weeks of unemployment starting September 25th and can continue through April 1, 2023, as long as their employment is still impacted by the disaster. The deadline to file a claim for DUA benefits is December 30, 2022. DUA is available to individuals who are ineligible for state or federal unemployment benefits if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Is unemployed as a direct result of the major disaster.
  • Was scheduled to start employment but was unable to as a direct result of the major disaster.
  • Is unable to reach their job or self-employment location because the individual has to travel through an affected area and is prevented from doing so as a direct result of the major disaster.
  • Has become the primary breadwinner because the head of the household died as a direct result of the major disaster, or
  • Is unable to work because of an injury that was a direct result of the major disaster.

Click here for information about how to identify and report fraudulent unemployment claims.

Free Disaster Cleanup

Home Cleanup Hotline – Manatee County – 800-451-1954 – connecting people to volunteers from local relief orgs, community and faith groups

  • Free to homeowners and renters regardless of income
  • Cut fallen trees
  • Drywall, flooring and appliance removal
  • Tarping roofs
  • Mold mitigation
  • Services are free but not guaranteed due to overwhelming need.
  • Hotline will be open until Oct. 28.

Blue Roof Program
Homeowners who suffered damage to their roofs from Hurricane Ian may now be eligible for Operation Blue Roof, a federal program that provides fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs. It protects property, reduces temporary housing costs and allows residents to remain in their homes while recovering from the storm.

This is a priority mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is free to homeowners.

Residents are encouraged to sign up and check the status of their applications through the online portal available at BlueRoof.us. The online process takes 5 minutes or less to complete. You can also call 888-766-3258 to speak to a live operator and apply, but you should expect the process to take up to 20 minutes. Hours of operation for the phone line are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To qualify for the Blue Roof program:

  • The home must be the primary residence of the person or household requesting the emergency roof covering; AND
  • The residence has NO more than 50 percent of the roof framing damaged. The framing must support the plastic sheeting as a temporary repair, and be able to provide safe shelter once contractors install the tarp; AND
  • The resident certifies that he or she is the owner of the residence requested to be covered OR is a renter that has obtained legal permission to continue occupying the residence until more permanent repairs are made; AND
  • The resident certifies that they will shelter in the residence that they have requested to be covered; AND
  • The roof must be standard roof shingles, or a similar material that will allow contractors to nail the tarp in place. Contractors will consider repairs to metal roofs and mobile homes on a case-by-case basis and will install the cover if possible. Contractors cannot cover roofs made of materials such as slate, asbestos or clay tile, or other material which would be exceptionally difficult to repair, or would likely be damaged during tarp installation.


Victims of Hurricane Ian that began September 23 in Florida now have until February 15, 2023, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments, per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Get more information at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-announces-tax-relief-for-victims-of-hurricane-ian-in-florida.

Small Business

  1. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to businesses and residents in Florida following the announcement of a major disaster declaration due to Hurricane Ian beginning Sept. 23.
  2. For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/ela/s/ and should apply under SBA declaration # 17644.

  • The Small Business Administration offers disaster assistance in the form of low interest loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters located in regions affected by declared disasters. SBA also provides eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations with working capital to help overcome the economic injury of a declared disaster.
  • Apply here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/Index


Airbnb has launched a special website to help Hurricane Ian Relocation efforts for impacted residents at Airbnb.com/hurricaneianflorida. The page features open (vacant and available for rent) properties that are available to be booked outside of the FEMA Disaster zones. As communities become fully restored with water and electricity, Airbnb will add more open properties.

Disaster Assistance Individuals
• Call 311 for information on local, state, and federal resources.

$0 Teladoc visits available to anyone impacted by Hurricane Ian

Florida Blue is working with Teladoc to offer no-cost, 24/7 telehealth visits for anyone impacted by the hurricane – even if they’re not a Florida Blue member.
Clinicians can help with non-emergency conditions such as allergies, cold, flu and sinus problems. They also can prescribe some medications that are not controlled substances.

Call the Teladoc hotline at 855-225-5032 for assistance.

The service is only for non-emergency situations. If you have a true emergency, please call 911.

Toll-free 24/7 bilingual emotional support helpline for all Floridians

The stress and anxiety of a hurricane can sometimes be overwhelming. Florida Blue teamed with New Directions Behavioral Health to offer a toll-free 24/7 bilingual emotional support helpline at 833-848-1764 for anyone in Florida experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety, trauma, and grief and in need of immediate emotional support.

Callers may also receive referrals to other sources of mental health support and community resources to help them with emergency services.

For Our Nonprofit Partners

Funding for Disaster Relief and Recovery

Providing grant dollars is part of our comprehensive strategy of response. While there is no active formal application, please let us know about needs you are seeing on the ground, especially those that are being unmet or overlooked, by contacting communityinvestments@uwsuncoast.org. If you or your clients are experiencing a need related to resource navigation, please visit https://unitedwaysuncoast.org/eviction-mitigation to connect with one of our partners.

Volunteer Projects

If your organization needs volunteer support after the storm’s impact, we encourage you to post your volunteer needs on the UWS Volunteer Portal. Click here to see if your organization is already registered, or click here to register. You can contact projects@uwsuncoast.org for assistance.

You Can Help

We are currently accepting donations* to our Disaster Recovery Fund to assist those affected by Hurricane Ian. 

This fund will help United Way Suncoast meet storm-related needs and support long-term recovery throughout the affected regions. Our focus is on mid- and long-term recovery. With your support, we can help rebuild our communities and ensure families have access to the resources they need as they get back on their feet. 

Volunteer here.

We all hope a hurricane will never hit our community, but it’s wise to be prepared.

During hurricane season, Floridians hope for the best and prepare for the worst. As we’ve seen with Hurricane Ian, the situation can change rapidly, often with little time to prepare. But, no matter the situation, or where you live, you can rest assured that a local United Way will be there with your community every step of the way. Local United Ways like United Way Suncoast are independent nonprofit organizations led by local staff and volunteers, but we’re all pulling together in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. 

In times of disaster, every United Way works diligently to organize resources and connect those in need with those who can help, coordinate volunteer efforts, bridge communication and leverage relationships to ensure our neighbors have the support they need to recover. United Way Suncoast has created a disaster recovery fund for its five-county footprint. So have other United Way affiliates. But we’re also working through United Way of Florida to support community members across the state.  Visit https://www.uwof.org/disaster-recovery-fund to learn more about our collaborative efforts. #United4Florida 

Hope Villages of America and Feeding Tampa Bay are both seeking volunteers to help with food distribution in the aftermath of Ian. Please visit https://www.volunteersuncoast.org/disaster to learn more.

Here are some helpful planning tips from the federal government’s Department of Health and Social Services:

  • Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
  • Identify potential home hazards and know how to secure or protect them before the hurricane strikes.
  • Be prepared to turn off electrical power when there is standing water or fallen power lines and before you evacuate. Turn off gas and water supplies before you evacuate.
  • Secure structurally unstable building materials.
  • Buy a fire extinguisher and make sure your family knows where to find it and how to use it.
  • Locate and secure your important papers, such as insurance policies, wills, licenses, stocks, etc.
  • Post emergency phone numbers at every phone. Put important numbers in your cell phone’s contacts.
  • Inform local authorities about any special needs, for example, elderly or bedridden people, or anyone with a disability.
  • Make plans to ensure your pets’ safety.


American Red Cross
The United States’ largest emergency response organization. Site includes a missing person’s registry and a variety of disaster preparation and response materials.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Hurricane Information Federal site includes information on preventing illnesses and infections, food safety, worker response, and other topics.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA is responsible for responding to national disasters, training first responders, and managing the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration. For Hurricane Ian information and claims, go to https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4673#help-families.

The U.S. government’s official web portal. Site includes information on finding loved ones, helping survivors, and other topics.

Red Cross Emergency Preparedness
Plan and prepare.

The Army Corps of Engineers has a BLUE ROOF program. If your roof has been damaged or is leaking from Hurricane Ian, you can call (888)766-3258. This is temporary until you can have a roofer replace your roof. 

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