To Help You “After The Storm”

Hurricane Irma


(Scroll down to see important information)



Hurricane Maria Survivors Can Find Resources at
Hillsborough’s Irma Disaster Recovery Center


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2017) – Hurricane Maria survivors who have come to Hillsborough County can find out about federal, state, and local programs and services available to help them by visiting the same local Disaster Recovery Center opened for those persons impacted by Hurricane Irma.

The Disaster Recovery Center at The Regent, 6437 Watson Road in Riverview, is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Appointments are not necessary.

More than a dozen agencies are providing resources at the center, including:

  • Federal Emergency Management Administration
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • Florida Department of Children and Families
  • Florida Department of Health
  • Hillsborough County Aging Services
  • Hillsborough County Affordable Housing Services
  • Hillsborough County Health Care Services
  • Hillsborough County Homeless Services
  • Hillsborough County Social Services
  • American Red Cross
  • Career Source Tampa Bay
  • Central Florida Behavioral Health Network
  • Senior Connection from Area Agency on Aging

Types of assistance are determined on a case-by-case basis. Disaster assistance may include grants to help homeowners and renters pay for temporary housing, essential home repairs, personal property replacement, human services, and other disaster-related needs.

For federal assistance, the registration process is the first step in recovery and requires information such as insurance policies, and bank information for possible direct transfer of funds. FEMA encourages residents to register before they visit the Disaster Recovery Center.  To register, go to, through the FEMA mobile app available in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or call (800) 621-3362, which is video relay service accessible. (TTY: (800) 462-7585.) Helpline hours are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Survivors requiring a reasonable accommodation such as American Sign Language interpreting, Braille, large print, etc., while visiting the Disaster Recovery Center may call the helpline for support.




Hillsborough County will soon begin removing bulky item storm debris from registered residential properties impacted by floodwaters or who experienced structural damage to their homes or accessory structures directly caused by Hurricane Irma. Qualifying storm debris may include construction and demolition debris, furniture or carpet impacted by floodwaters, damaged appliances, or other non-vegetative debris.

You must complete a Hurricane Irma-Residential Storm Debris Removal Request Form in order to have bulky item storm debris collected from your residential property at no additional cost.  Residents who just have vegetative debris do not need to complete a form and can simply place yard waste debris at the right-of-way for collection.

Forms are available:

The storm debris must be stacked in piles on the right-of-way in front of the impacted residential property by October 16, 2017 in order to be collected. Debris will only be collected at properties that have submitted a removal request form.

Guidelines for Setting Out Debris:

  • Residents should take care to avoid placing debris near mailboxes, water meters, street signs, light poles, fire hydrants, or other items that would prevent collection of the material.
  • Debris should not be placed in the roadway, where it can fall into the roadway, or on top of storm drains.
  • Do not mix household waste or yard debris with the storm debris.

For more information about bulky item storm debris removal, contact Casaundra Marion at (813) 272-8787.



Commissioner Sandy Murman wanted to share this information from Hillsborough County regarding the collection of yard debris from Hurricane Irma:


DATE:            September 29, 2017


TO:                 Board of County Commissioners


FROM:           Michael S. Merrill, County Administrator


SUBJECT:   Hurricane Irma Debris Collection


Hurricane Irma was a large storm that brought destructive winds across the entire county.

Contractors began collecting debris from the rights of way on September 18, after providing

adequate time for the County to clear roads and allow residents to return to their homes and

begin cleanup efforts. The preliminary assessment of the vegetative debris generated by the

storm is estimated at approximately 600,000 cubic yards across the unincorporated county. It

is equivalent to a football field stacked nearly as high as County Center with debris, and equates

to approximately 1.5 times the volume of vegetative debris the County processes in a typical



As of Wednesday, September 28, the County has 49 private contractor crews working seven

days a week to remove storm debris as quickly and efficiently as possible along nearly 4,400

miles of public and private roadways. Additionally, the County has committed eight Public

Works crews and two Parks/Code Enforcement crews to assist in the debris removal efforts. To

date, more than 59,000 cubic yards of debris has been delivered to County yard waste disposal

sites. Contractors are continuing to increase field resources with the goal to substantially

complete collection activities by mid-November.


Hillsborough County awarded contracts earlier this year for storm debris collection, processing

and disposal, making our hauling rates competitive and attracting outside subcontractors from

all over the United States to aid in our debris removal efforts. Having these contracts in place

and mobilizing contractors in advance of the storm has placed our County in a better position

than many agencies struggling for resources across Florida.


Expediting storm debris clean-up is a priority. FEMA is reviewing rules that require preapproval

of clean up in order to be eligible for reimbursement. In some cases, that preapproval

process could delay our efforts. Therefore, I have directed staff to proceed without

such pre-approval, which may impact our reimbursements. I have directed Brandon Wagner to

engage our legislative resources to work with FEMA to clear away unnecessary red tape.

We appreciate and request our residents’ patience as we continue to respond to the worst

hurricane to hit our community in a decade. We also appreciate your support and assistance in

reassuring residents that the County is dedicating resources to remove debris as quickly as









USDA Approves D-SNAP for Florida Disaster Counties


WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2017 – Floridians struggling with the after effects of Hurricane Irma could be eligible for help buying food through USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today. 

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that households who may not normally be eligible under regular SNAP rules may qualify for D-SNAP — if their income is under the disaster limits and they have qualifying disaster-related expenses. 

“The D-SNAP program USDA is announcing today is an important step forward,” Perdue said. “Other food assistance is already underway, but D-SNAP will provide the continued support our neighbors in Florida need, as they get back on their feet after this epic storm. We’re with you, Florida — all the way.”

D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive two months of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size, to meet their food needs as they settle back home following the disaster.  To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must have lived or worked in an identified disaster area on September 5 (when mandatory evacuation orders began), have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. 

Although each disaster situation is unique, D-SNAP is most appropriate in the recovery phase after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP, a State must ensure that proper public information, staffing and resources are in place.

“We are working around the clock to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Irma damage,” said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Mike Carroll.  “We will continue to stand side-by-side with those who need us as they get back on their feet. We encourage those in need of food assistance to pre-register through the website so we can quickly serve those in need.”

The D-SNAP announcement today is the latest in an ongoing series of USDA actions to help Florida cope with the storm and its aftermath that also include the early release of September benefits to all current SNAP participants prior to the storm’s impact, a waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through September 30, and mass replacement of 40 percent of household SNAP benefits to current participants in 52 counties.  USDA’s actions extend beyond SNAP as well.  For example, children attending hurricane-affected schools will be served free school meals through the National School Lunch Program through October 20. 

Details on Florida’s D-SNAP program, also known as Food for Florida, will be available at the Food for Florida website. D-SNAP sites will be posted on the website as they become available. 

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children,  and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which together comprise America’s nutrition safety net. For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit




Immediate Needs Resources for Hurricane Irma

Survivors in Florida


Comprehensive list of services, and resources:  Florida Division of Consumer Services.


Emergency Information


Food Resources


Housing Needs: Sheltering





FEMA helpline: 800-621-3362. If you use TTY call 800-462-7585. For 711 or

Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.


Gas and Road Conditions


Disaster Recovery Centers




FEMA/State Disaster Recovery Center Opens in

Hillsborough County for Florida Survivors 


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will open Thursday, Sept. 21 in Hillsborough County to help Florida storm survivors.  The DRC will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.


The DRC is at the following address:  Hillsborough Community College — The Regent, 6437 Watson Road, Riverview, FL  33578

Regular hours:         9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week


As more centers open, survivors may locate one near them at or by calling FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.  That information is also available on the FEMA Mobile App.


The registration process is the first step in recovery and requires information such as insurance policies, and bank information for possible direct transfer of funds.  Survivors are urged to register before visiting a DRC. To register, go online to or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.  Help is available in most languages and phone lines are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) seven days a week until further notice.


If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register in one of the following ways:

  • Online at
  • Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service (VRS). If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585.
  • Download the FEMA Mobile App and apply.


Survivors requiring a reasonable accommodation such as American Sign Language interpreting, Braille, large print, etc., while visiting a DRC may call the Helpline number for support at 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Help is available in most languages, and information on the registration process is available in ASL at:

Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) crews are canvassing affected areas and are able to register survivors for FEMA assistance, if needed.  When residents require further assistance, the teams may refer them to a DRC.

If already registered, it is not necessary to visit a DRC.

FEMA grants do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.


Survivors should register even if they have insurance. FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments, but underinsured applicants may receive help after their claims have been settled.


For more information on the Florida recovery, visit



Residential Yard Debris Collection Schedule for Hurricane Irma


Collection trucks will be working systematically throughout unincorporated Hillsborough County neighborhoods to collect vegetative yard debris related to Hurricane Irma. Storm debris is being collected by a special contractor and not as part of routine weekly yard waste collections. Trucks may have to make several passes over the next few weeks due to the extent of storm damage and to ensure the removal of all yard debris put out by residents.

Make sure you follow these rules to ensure your debris is collected:

  • Place vegetative debris away from mailboxes, water meters, street signs, light poles, and fire hydrants to allow room for heavy machinery to pick up debris.
  • Do not place debris in the roadway or on top of storm drains.
  • Do not mix household waste, bulk waste, or recyclables with storm debris.
  • Tree limbs and other large vegetative storm debris should not be bagged or placed in containers
    • Contracted storm debris providers will be using heavy machinery to collect debris piles
  • Loose vegetative storm debris (such as small branches, sticks, and leaves) should be bagged or placed in containers for routine weekly yard waste collection by your normal service provider
    • Yard waste service providers will only collect up to the standard 12 bag/container limit per week (equivalent to 2 cubic yards of debris)
  • All debris must be placed at the curb in the public right-of-way.


Residents can also take yard debris to the County’s three yard waste collection sites listed below, Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents must show a valid Florida driver’s license to receive free yard waste disposal.

  • Falkenburg Road – 346 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa 33619
  • Northwest County – 8001 W. Linebaugh Ave., Tampa 33625
  • South County – 13000 U.S. Highway 41, Gibsonton 33534


Commercial businesses and landscapers can also take yard waste to the yard waste processing sites and must pay the $38.01 per ton disposal fee.

Hillsborough County residents can drop off non-vegetative storm debris at any of the County’s Community Collection Centers. In order to receive free disposal, residents must show a valid photo ID displaying the residential address of the property owner and a copy of their annual Hillsborough County Property Tax Bill.

Storm debris collection and disposal within the municipalities are being handled by the individual cities: TampaTemple Terrace, and Plant City.

For more information on County collections and disposal options, call Hillsborough County Solid Waste at (813) 272-5680.

Communities with Homeowners’ Associations 
Hillsborough County has requested that all homeowners’ associations work with their residents during the Hurricane Irma recovery efforts pertaining to leaving yard debris at the curb. Hillsborough County’s contracted storm debris removal teams will be working throughout the county to remove yard debris over the next several weeks, which necessitates residents leaving yard debris at the right of way for collection. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time of recovery.

No Open Burning 
Residents are reminded that open burning of residential yard waste and household garbage or trash without a permit from the Fire Marshal’s Office is prohibited in Hillsborough County.


City of Tampa Residents can click on the link below for the City’s Yard Debris Program:


City of Tampa Storm Debris Management Webpage





Disaster Relief Employment, Small Business Emergency Loans Available to Floridians Affected by Hurricane Irma


MARATHON, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott announced the state has been awarded federal Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Irma. The Dislocated Worker Grants, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, provide disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts.

Governor Scott said, “As we all recover from Hurricane Irma, we are doing everything we can to help Floridians get back on their feet. This federal funding will provide important employment opportunities to Floridians who may have lost their jobs due to the impacts of this massive storm and will also support ongoing recovery efforts. Now, Floridians can get back to work helping those in their communities. We will continue to work together to make sure everyone has the support they need to rebuild.”

Disaster relief employment pertains to projects that provide food, clothing, shelter and other humanitarian assistance for disaster victims and projects that involve demolition, cleaning, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged structures and facilities. Individuals who qualify for disaster relief employment are people who are temporarily or permanently laid off as a consequence of the disaster, dislocated workers, and individuals who are long-term unemployed.

DEO Executive Director Cissy Proctor said, “DEO is working with local CareerSource Florida workforce boards across the state to connect dislocated job seekers with cleanup opportunities. We will continue to use these grants and all other resources we have available to help communities fully recover from Hurricane Irma.”

For information regarding National Dislocated Worker Grants, visit your local CareerSource Center at

In addition to the Dislocated Worker Grants, DEO is also providing the following programs to assist in recovery from Hurricane Irma:


  • The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program provides cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term Small Business Administration loans. Go to for more information.


  • DEO is currently surveying businesses in affected counties to determine damage. To access the business survey, please go to and select “Hurricane Irma” from the drop-down menu.


  • The Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) Program provides assistance to businesses and residents whose employment or self-employment was lost or interrupted as a result of Hurricane Irma. To apply for DUA, go to or call the Florida Disaster Unemployment Assistance Line at 1-800-385-3920.





CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas can immediately provide job placement to anyone who has lost their job or self-employment due to Hurricane Irma. Come to any of our centers or go online to or to find out about the many services we can provide at NO COST!


Federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance Is Also Available For Individuals Who:

  • Worked or were self-employed or were scheduled to begin work or self-employment;
  • Are not able to work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster;
  • Can establish that the work or self-employment they can no longer perform was their principal source of income;
  • Do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits from any state;
  • Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury as a direct result of disaster;
  • Became the breadwinner or major supporter of a household because of the death of the head of household.


To file a DUA claim go to or call 1-800-385-3920.



For Immediate Release:

Contact: Ashley Carr, (850) 413–2842


CFO Patronis Partners with Senator Marco Rubio to Open Insurance Villages and Disaster Recovery Centers Across Florida


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis today announced that, in partnership with Senator Marco Rubio, insurance villages and disaster recovery centers will be opening next week in areas heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma. Local, state and federal partners will be in attendance to offer Floridians a wide array of relief assistance in one centralized location.


CFO Patronis said, “Getting Floridians back on their feet and back to normalcy is our top priority, and these recovery centers will provide access to the tools and resources needed to help our residents navigate the post-storm recovery and claims-filing process. I am amazed by the strength and sense of community that our state has exhibited in the wake of Irma’s destruction. To my fellow Floridians recovering from Irma’s wrath, help is on the way.”


Insurance experts from CFO Patronis’ Department of Financial Services will be on hand to answer Floridians’ insurance-related questions and concerns. CFO Patronis has also arranged for several insurance companies with policies in the impacted areas to be on-site to help Floridians file post-storm claims. Consumers are encouraged to bring copies of all insurance policies with them to these events. A list of participating insurance companies is available here.


The confirmed schedule of days and locations is as follows:


Jacksonville – Tuesday, September 19

8:00am to 6:00pm EST

Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center

1000 Water Street

Jacksonville, FL 32204


Naples – Wednesday, September 20

8:00am to 6:00pm EST

New Hope Ministries

7675 Davis Blvd

Naples, FL 34104


Ft. Myers – Thursday, September 21

8:00am to 6:00pm EST

Lee County Veterans Park Recreation Center

55 Homestead Road South

Lehigh Acres, FL 33936


In addition to Senator Marco Rubio’s staff and those participating from the Department of Financial Services, the following companies, non-profit organizations, and federal and state agencies have confirmed:

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
  • American Red Cross
  • Florida SBDC Network
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Florida Departments of Children and Families and Economic Opportunity
  • First Data Corporation
  • Anheuser-Busch Companies
  • CareerSource Florida
  • ElderSource
  • United Way of Florida
  • The Salvation Army




For Immediate Release
Media Contact
Adrienne Frucci

Communications & Digital Media
(813) 277-1600

Hillsborough County Begins Residential Yard Debris Collection


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 18, 2017) – Beginning today, collection trucks will be working systematically through neighborhoods to collect yard debris related to Hurricane Irma. Trucks may have to make several passes over the next few weeks due to the extent of storm damage, and to ensure the removal of all yard debris put out by residents. Do not block access to stormwater drains, utility boxes, or roadways.

The Hillsborough Heights temporary collection site at 6209 County Road 579, in Seffner will remain open until 5 p.m. today. A second temporary site at the Northwest Equestrian Park, 10711 South Mobley Road in Odessa is closed. Both temporary sites will be closed after today.

Residents can still take yard debris to the County’s three permanent yard waste collection sites which are back to normal operating hours, Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Residents must show a valid Florida driver’s license to receive free yard waste disposal.

  • Falkenburg Road – 346 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa 33619
  • Northwest County – 8001 W. Linebaugh Ave, Tampa 33625
  • South County – 13000 U.S. Highway 41, Gibsonton 33534


Commercial businesses and landscapers can also take yard waste to permanent yard waste processing sites that have scales and must pay the $38.01 per ton disposal fee. Sites available include Falkenburg Road, Northwest County, and South County.

Normal residential garbage, recycling, and yard waste collection services resumed Wednesday, Sept. 13, including New Tampa.

For more information on yard debris disposal, call the Solid Waste Customer Service number, (813) 272-5680.

No Open Burning
Residents are reminded that open burning of residential yard waste and household garbage or trash is prohibited in Hillsborough County. For more information on the rules of open burning, residents can visit 



For Immediate Release
Media Contact
Kara Walker

Communications & Digital Media
(813) 277-1600

Hillsborough County Residents Waiting for House Repairs Can Apply for Operation Blue Roof


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 25, 2017) – Service hours have been extended at Hillsborough’s Disaster Recovery Center for residents coping with damage from Hurricane Irma. Also, residents whose roofs were damaged by the storm still have time to apply for free temporary coverings installed through Operation Blue Roof.

Operation Blue Roof is a priority mission managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Operation for FEMA. The program provides homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced sheeting and installation to cover their damaged roofs until arrangements can be made for permanent repairs.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff will be at the Seffner-Mango Branch Library, 410 N. Kingsway Road, in Seffner, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at least through Tuesday, Sept. 26. After that time, residents may call 1-888-ROOF-BLU (1-888-766-3258) or go to to find an application location.

This program is for primary residences or permanently occupied rental properties with less than 50 percent structural damage. Vacation rental properties are not eligible. Once the blue roof is installed, the structure must be habitable. Roofs that are flat or made of metal or clay, slate or asbestos tile do not qualify.

Some things residents should know:

  • All storm debris must be removed for the roof to qualify.
  • Applicants must grant permission for the Corps of Engineers and its agents to go onto individual properties to install the temporary roof.
  • Beware of solicitations. Blue Roof representatives never solicit participation, nor will they ask for Social Security or bank account numbers.
  • Look for identification. Corps employees who do assessments for Operation Blue Roof carry U.S. Government ID cards. If you don’t see it, ask for it. Contractors will have a copy of a signed Right of Entry form.
  • Representatives from Operation Blue Roof may call to clarify information or location, but they will not ask for sensitive information.
  • Pets must be kept inside or properly restrained away in order for workers to safely access the roof.

For more information about Operation Blue Roof and eligibility requirements, call 1-888-ROOF-BLU (1-888-766-3258), or visit



Relief Fund Established for Hillsborough County Residents Impacted by Hurricane Irma


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2017) – Even before Hurricane Irma hit Hillsborough County, good Samaritans all around the country began asking how they could help residents. Hillsborough County has established the Hillsborough County Irma Relief Fund that will directly fund recovery efforts for residents impacted by the storm.

All financial donations to the relief fund will be used to support non-profit organizations providing aid and recovery services to Hillsborough County residents, such as Salvation Army and American Red Cross. Funds collected will go directly to residents through the non-profit organizations and will not be used for any governmental services or administrative costs.

Donations can be made to the Hillsborough County Irma Relief Fund by:

  • Online: Visit to make an online donation.
  • Check: Payable to “Hillsborough Irma Relief” and mail to Lutheran Services Florida at 3627 W. Waters Ave., Tampa, FL 33614.

Funding will be authorized by a committee consisting of representatives from the Hillsborough County Department of Aging Services, Florida Department of Children and Families, and United Way Suncoast.

The creation of a general recovery/relief account to support human services organizations providing relief and recovery services to disaster survivors is a part of Hillsborough County’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.



For Immediate Release
Media Contact
Adrienne Frucci

Communications & Digital Media
(813) 277-1600

Drive-Up Points of Distribution Open for Hillsborough County Residents


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017) – Hillsborough County has staged three drive-up Points of Distribution (PODs) where residents impacted by Hurricane Irma can receive water, nonperishable food, and “shelf-stable” meals that can be made quickly. The PODs will be open today from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17 at the following locations:

  • Al Lopez Park, 4810 N. Himes Ave. in Tampa
  • Church of God Wimauma Convention Center, 5408 State Road 674 in Wimauma
  • University of South Florida Lot 18 T, intersection of USF Sycamore Dr. and USF Elm Dr.

Residents in vehicles will line up single-file, enter the location, receive items, and then exit through another location. Drivers and passengers must stay in the vehicle. They will be asked to “pop the trunk” and workers will load the items into the vehicle.




For Immediate Release
Media Contact
Adrienne Frucci

Communications & Digital Media
(813) 277-1600


Hillsborough County Disaster Fraud Hotline to Help Screen Illegal Contractors
How to avoid and report violators during disasters


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2017) – With recovery efforts underway following Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough County wants to help protect residents from the dangers of hiring illegal contractors for repair, restoration, and debris removal projects.

Fraudulent and unlicensed professionals often victimize vulnerable homeowners. As a public service, Hillsborough County has set up a citizen hotline can help detect and report fraudulent contractors by calling (813) 635-8316. Hotline hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

During a declared state of emergency, unlicensed contractor penalties increase from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony under Florida law, a charge carrying up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

The Department of Consumer & Veterans Services offers the following tips to help residents and property owners:

  • Require prospective contractors to show proof of workman’s compensation insurance and state-issued license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Never accept occupational licenses, business tax receipts, or registration as a corporation or limited liability (LLC) as proof of an independent contractor’s qualifications or legal licensing.  For additional information and helpful guidelines, visit the State’s Unlicensed Activity Program website.
  • Consult the county’s Development Services or your local municipality for permits required for roofing projects, structural repairs or additions, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, or alarm repairs.
  • Before hiring contractors such as roofers, consult your insurance company first to ensure direct payment to you (the insured) which allows recourse in the event of faulty repairs.
  • Require tree-trimmers to show proof of workman’s compensation. While these individuals do not require state licensing, insurance coverage is highly recommended to protect yourself from liability.
  • Licensed contractors undergo background checks, and it’s best to allow them to pull permits. For a list of warning signs that your contractor may not be licensed visit our website here.
  • Whenever possible, obtain and compare written estimates from multiple licensed contractors that include the total cost for all labor, materials, and the project’s completion date.
  • Avoid contractors who come door-to-door and claim to be the fastest or the cheapest, and do ask for local references. Note: the state does not license individuals who perform minor “handyman” repairs. If you feel threatened in “any way” dial 911.
  • There is no need to pay for storm debris removal. Free pickups for residents of Hillsborough County begins on Monday, Sept. 18. Residents of other municipalities should check neighborhood schedules:  City of TampaTemple TerracePlant City

For additional information, contact Consumer & Veterans Services at (813) 635-8316 or visit



Relief Offered to Seniors Experiencing Power Outages in Hillsborough County


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2017) – Hillsborough County is offering hot meals and a cool place for senior citizens experiencing power outages in the County. Hillsborough County Aging Services will open six nutrition and wellness sites to offer relief during the day to all residents 60 years and older.

Aging Services will serve a hot meal at lunchtime at each location, as well as offer a place for seniors to simply escape the heat.

The sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15, then Monday, Sept. 18 through Wednesday, Sept. 20. The sites include:

  • Brandon Senior Center, 612 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon, (813) 635-8066 – Lunch served at 11:45 a.m.
  • Gardenville Recreation Center, 6215 Symmes Road in Gibsonton, (813) 671-7601 – Lunch served at 11:30 a.m.
  • Lutz Senior Center, 112 NW 1st Ave. in Lutz, (813) 264-3804 – Lunch served at noon
  • Oaks at Riverview Senior Center, 101 E. Kirby St. in Tampa, (813) 272-6829 – Lunch served at noon
  • Ruskin Senior Center, 905 6th St. SE in Ruskin, (813) 672-1107 – Lunch served at noon
  • Wimauma Senior Center, 5714 North St. in Wimauma, (813) 671-7672 – Lunch served at 11:45 a.m.

The six sites will be closed on Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17.

Seniors must be a Hillsborough County resident and will need a valid ID with a county address. Residents should call to reserve a hot meal if they are able to. Meals will also be provided outside of lunchtime hours.



Health Officials Urge Caution Following Carbon Monoxide Deaths


By KATE PAYNE  SEP 15, 2017

Originally published on September 14, 2017 2:56 pm


Carbon monoxide poisoning from generators has reportedly killed five Floridians in the wake of Irma. Here are some ways to prevent exposure to the potentially deadly gas.

Health officials call it a silent killer: carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. And the risk of poisoning is on the rise, as many Floridians turn on generators in the wake of Irma.

State officials are urging residents to never run generators or grills inside. Leon County Health Department spokeswoman Gail Stewart says that includes in garages, carports, porches or any area without ventilation.

“So you need to place it away from the house at least five feet or more. Not near a door or window or air intakes. Again, if your windows aren’t sealed the gas can come in,” Stewart said.

Stewart says symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include…

“A low, dull headaches, muscle weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, confusion, possible loss of consciousness. And it’s especially true when people are sleeping or if they’re intoxicated,” she said.

Stewart encourages neighbors to check in on each other.

“If you have neighbors that are elderly and they have a generator, please help them to be able to place their generators in a safe spot and go over periodically to check their fuel levels,” Stewart said. “This really takes a community effort, for generator safety.”

Stewart warns generators are by no means the only source of carbon monoxide.

“Anything that has an exhaust, we need to be protecting our breathing, because all of those petroleum-based engines, small engines, produce carbon monoxide,” she said.

While the gas cannot be seen or smelled, the Department of Health is encouraging residents to install carbon monoxide alarms, check them regularly and replace any dead batteries.

Since Hurricane Irma came ashore, residents have reached out to the Florida Poison Control Centers for treatment advice for 140 patients potentially affected by carbon monoxide. Those numbers don’t include calls directly to 911, or cases handled by hospitals that did not seek outside treatment advice.

If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of poisoning, call 911 and seek fresh air immediately.



FEMA Teams to Canvass Hillsborough Neighborhoods


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2017) – Beginning Friday, Sept. 15, FEMA outreach teams will canvass Hillsborough County neighborhoods to help residents impacted by Hurricane Irma register for disaster assistance. The teams can quickly identify and address immediate and emerging needs, and provide application updates and referrals to additional community resources.

Housing inspectors contracted by FEMA will inspect damage sustained by those who have registered with FEMA.

Residents should exercise caution when contracting for home repairs. Residents can report fraudulent or suspicious contractors by calling the Hillsborough County disaster fraud hotline at (813) 635-8316. Hotline hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Here are some tips to guard against fraud:

  • Ask to see ID badges. All FEMA representatives wear a federal photo ID badge. A FEMA shirt or jacket is not proof of identity. If you doubt someone’s credentials, contact local law enforcement.
  • Beware of people going door-to-door. People knocking on doors at damaged homes or phoning homeowners claiming to be building contractors could be con artists, especially if they ask for personal information or solicit money. Verify federal ID badges of disaster assistance staff.
  • FEMA Disaster survivor assistance teams never ask for or accept payment for their services.
  • FEMA does not have “approved” contractors. Beware of contractors who say they are affiliated with FEMA. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand or contracts with blank spaces.

Visit for additional information about disaster assistance.



From United States Senator Bill Nelson’s Office:

Website to log into to register for Individual Assistance & Small Business Assistance

FEMA Assistance by phone: 1‑800‑621‑FEMA (1‑800‑621‑3362)

Once they’ve filled out their application if they’d like our office to follow up, they need to fill out the consent form below so our office can follow up on their request. Please have them include their application receipt number.


Helpful Links:


  • Small Business Assistance:


  • Individual Assistance Fact Sheet


  • Application Checklist-


  • Also Helpful


Link to Individual Assistance Flyer in English: IndividualAssistanceFlyer-Irma

Link to Individual Assistance Flyer in Spanish: FEMA Hurricane Irma Spanish Flyer




Bus Routes Resume Normal Operations


Tampa, FL – September 14, 2017 –  Hillsborough County is once again on the move, as HART resumes regular weekday service operations today which includes express routes. Customers should be advised that select trips may be delayed, due to operator staffing level. Onboard Wi-Fi is also currently down fleet-wide. Patience is appreciated. Also, automated ADA announcements are not working as well. HART Bus Operators are verbally making announcements and taking stop requests. There is no TECO Line Streetcar service again today. We need more time for inspections of the line. Starting tomorrow, September 15, streetcar service will resume regular operation hours.


The HART Customer Service call center is back up and running. Customers can call 813-254-4278 until 8:00 p.m. with any questions or concerns. HARTPlus customers can book reservations from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Riders asked to monitor HART Twitter and Facebook pages for timely information regarding transit service. HART also offers real-time information through its service alerts system.

“Thank you to all amazing people who make up our HART staff. Employees worked day and night over the last few days to get people who have been displaced to local shelters in safety and, on the other side, to get our transit services up and running again,” said HART CEO Katharine Eagan. “It was a huge effort and the result of a lot of hard-working employees here.”

HART thanks the local media and our community partners for sharing information about the evacuation routes and service updates. It was greatly appreciated.

New to HART?

HART anticipates many new riders who were impacted by Hurricane Irma will be taking advantage of our services. We welcome you and want to make sure you are comfortable riding our system. Click here to plan a trip, check OneBusAway Tampa app, bus schedules and learn everything else you need to know about riding the HART network, HyperLINK, HARTFlex, IN-TOWNER, TECO Line Streetcar System.






Disaster Assistance Resources Are Available for Residents
and Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Irma


Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma are eligible for individual disaster assistance. Residents can easily access federal disaster assistance through the FEMA mobile app available in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. The app allows residents to upload and share photos of damage, access local resources, and toggle between English and Spanish. Assistance can also be requested by filling out an online questionnaire and aid application at or calling 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585). Those with access to the Internet are encouraged to apply that way.

Hillsborough County continues to assess damage to businesses in order to provide resources for recovery. Business owners are highly encouraged to complete an online survey or report preliminary damage assessments to the State of Florida at Businesses may also be eligible for recovery assistance at or 1-800-659-2955.




Access Free Resources and Apply for FEMA Assistance at Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017) – Free Wi-Fi and public computer access is available to residents at Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries to apply for FEMA assistance and identify other recovery resources. Libraries’ staff is ready to assist residents use a wide range of resources at most library locations, including:

  • Free Wi-Fi and computer access
  • Accessing disaster relief websites and submitting FEMA claims
  • Connecting with personal insurance providers online
  • Faxing documentation needed to file claims
  • Scanning, copying, and printing important paperwork
  • Charging personal electronic devices
  • Connecting with friends and family via email and social media

All library locations will be open Friday, Sept. 15, and Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. except for Seminole Heights Branch Library, Town ‘N Country Regional Library, and West Tampa Branch Library.

Visit for additional information about Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Libraries.




Any customer who remains without power should report their outage


Tampa, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2017) –Tampa Electric has nearly completed restoration to hundreds of thousands of customers who were affected by Hurricane Irma, and remains on target to restore power to essentially all customers by Sunday night.


We have restored power to more than 95 percent of customers affected by the storm, and 2.4 percent remain out. Some customers with more complex damage will take additional time to restore.


“These final days of restoration involve labor-intensive outages, including lines with severe damage,” said Gordon Gillette, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “These repairs – and in some cases, rebuilding – will take some time. Rest assured, we will not stop until all customers are restored.”


In total, 425,000 of our 750,000 customers were impacted by the storm. More than 4,000 line, tree and other personnel – from as far away as Oklahoma, Maine and Nova Scotia, Canada – continue to work around the clock to restore power quickly and safely.


We want to ensure we don’t miss anyone. Any Tampa Electric customer who remains without electricity should contact us:

  • The fastest, easiest way to report an outage is to visit Enrollment may be required.
  • Also, enroll in Power Updates from to text outage reports or get service updates via text, phone or email.
  • Update the phone number and email associated with your account at This helps when you report an outage.
  • Residential and commercial customers may call Tampa Electric’s dedicated toll-free automated power outage phone system at 1-877-588-1010 to report a power outage or electric emergency.


Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 750,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.



What to do with Sandbags?


Find options for your leftover sandbags

Residents have a few options for sandbags that were used for Hurricane Irma:

  • Hillsborough County recommends residents store sandbags for reuse during possible future storms in the 2017 season.
  • Residents not wanting to store sandbags for future use can drop off the sandbags at any of the County’s solid waste facilities. Find locations here.




Dump and Drain to Prevent Mosquitoes from Breeding In and Around Your Home


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2017) – Hurricane Irma’s windblown and water-driven debris scattered across Hillsborough County, as well as floodwaters, means additional breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Any debris or other items that hold water – from a Styrofoam cup to a torn plastic tarp – can allow mosquitoes to breed by the thousands. It’s important to drain this water and dispose of, cover, or move these items to prevent the spread of mosquitoes.

The easiest way to prevent mosquito bites is to stop them from breeding in the first place. Mosquito larvae need water to grow, so the most effective method to keep them from reproducing is to deprive them of water.

Follow these tips:

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and insect repellent while you’re out cleaning up your yard.
  • Pick up and drain water from overturned garbage cans and flower pots, as well as pool covers, coolers, toys, buckets, watering cans, kiddie pools, and any other containers where rainwater collected.
  • Clean out rain gutters and downspouts, especially those that are clogged with storm debris.
  • Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances, and other items that may collect water.
  • Check and correct chlorination levels in pools which received more rainwater during Irma.
  • Empty and clean birdbaths and pet water bowls.

For more information on the Hillsborough County Mosquito Control Unit and tips on preventing or reducing mosquitoes, visit



Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center Coordinates Donation of 11 Pallets of Pet Food


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 17, 2017) – To help pet owners in need after Hurricane Irma, Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center will deliver 11 pallets of pet food to the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 3607 N. Armenia Ave., at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 18.

The food comes from the generosity of the Caloosa Humane Society in LaBelle in Hendry County. A team of County employees from different departments pulled together to pick up the food and bring it here.

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay is a valuable partner in the County’s animal protection efforts and helps adopt animals surrendered to the Pet Resource Center.

What You Can Do To Help Pets
The Pet Resource Center’s Safety Net Food Pantry and the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s Food Pantry need donations to help pet owners affected by Hurricane Irma. Items from the following list can be dropped off at the Pet Resource Center, 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., or at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay during their regular business hours:

  • Dry and canned food for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens
  • Cat and kitten litter
  • Clean towels of all sizes (new or gently used)
  • Unscented baby wipes
  • Milk Bones brand treats (no butcher bones, rawhides or homemade treats)

To make a monetary donation, visit the Hillsborough County Pet Resources Foundation.

If You Are a Pet Owner and Need Help
Pet owners affected by Hurricane Irma may visit the Pet Resource Center to pick up food, litter, and other essential resources for their pets.

Also, the storm has brought an influx of dogs and cats to the shelter. Some are strays displaced from their neighborhoods by Irma’s rain and flooding. Others come from owners who can no longer care for them as they deal with the storm’s effects. In addition, shelters typically see a temporary drop in adoptions after a natural disaster.

Owners who are missing their pets may check online at or call (813) 744-5660. Before making any pets found during Irma available for adoption, PRC will hold these pets for 30 days. PRC does check for tags and microchips with every pet that comes through its doors. If a tag and/or microchip is found, PRC will contact the owner.



Pet Resource Center Asks Community for Help After Storm


Hillsborough County, Fla. (Sept. 13, 2017) – Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center has resumed normal business hours and is asking the community to help pets and pet owners in need. The shelter is near capacity and is expecting more animals to arrive after the storm. Hundreds of ready-to-go dogs and cats are available and need to go to a loving forever home. Rescue and foster partners are also needed.

In addition, the shelter’s Safety Net Food Pantry is in need of donations to help pet owners affected by Hurricane Irma. The following list of items is requested, and can be dropped off directly from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Pet Resource Center, 440 N. Falkenburg Road:

  • Dry and canned food for dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens
  • Cat and kitten litter
  • Clean towels of all sizes (new or gently used)
  • Unscented baby wipes
  • Milk Bones brand treats (no butcher bones, rawhides or homemade treats)
  • Kong brand toys
  • Ping-pong balls and other waterproof toys for cats

To make a monetary donation, visit the Hillsborough County Pet Resources Foundation.

Pet owners affected by Hurricane Irma may visit the Pet Resource Center to pick up food, litter, and other essential resources for their pets.

Pet owners who are missing their pets may check the online kennel and daily intake report at or call (813) 744-5660.




If you couldn’t find what you need above, visit for Disaster Assistance Resources


Resources are available for those who have been impacted by Hurricane Irma. Visit to learn about disaster recovery assistance from FEMA and other agencies that can help you and your family in the storm’s aftermath.