Preserve eligibility for FEMA assistance
If you applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance after Hurricane Idalia, you may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to apply for a disaster loan, according to a FEMA news release.
If you are approved, you do not have to accept the loan. But failure to submit the application may disqualify you from other possible financial assistance from FEMA and the State of Florida, the release says.
SBA disaster loans are the largest source of federal disaster recovery funds for survivors. SBA offers long-term, low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters.
SBA disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other resources. Survivors should not wait for an insurance settlement before submitting an SBA loan application. Applicants may discover they were underinsured for the deductible, labor and materials required to repair or replace their home.
Homeowners may be eligible for a disaster loan up to $500,000 for primary residence structural repairs or rebuilding. SBA may also be able to help homeowners and renters with up to $100,000 to repair or replace important personal property, including automobiles damaged or destroyed in the disaster.
Survivors may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at SBA.gov/disaster or by visiting the nearest Disaster Recovery Center. You can find an available center at FEMA.gov/drc. Disaster loan information and application forms also can be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.
The release says the latest information on Florida’s recovery from Hurricane Idalia is available by visiting FloridaDisaster.org/updates/ and fema.gov/disaster/4734. Follow FEMA on X, formerly known as Twitter, at Twitter.com/femaregion4 and at Facebook.com/fema.
Veterans incentive awards announced
FloridaCommerce announced the winners of the 2023 Veterans’ Performance Incentive Awards during the Third Annual Veterans Workforce Summit, which attracted more than 230 attendees, according to a news release.
The summit provides statewide training for the Jobs for Veterans’ State Grant and recognizes award recipients in a number of categories.
The summit offers valuable training to support veterans, transitioning service members and their spouses as they find and begin meaningful careers.
During the event, 2023 Veterans’ Performance Incentive Awards were presented to the Local Workforce Development Board for excellence or demonstrated improvements in serving veterans through employment service, program service enhancements and community partnerships. CareerSource Tampa Bay, CareerSource Palm Beach County and CareerSource Escarosa, CareerSource Brevard, Career Source Okaloose/Walter; and CareerSource Gulf Coast were singled out for their achievements.
Veteran Readiness and Employment Awards:
This award recognizes Disabled Veteran Outreach Program specialists across the state who have shown excellence in serving Florida’s veterans with service-connected disabilities that limit or prevent their ability to work. The recipients are: David Atchison, Anastacio Gonzalex, David Lurie, Daisha McDowell, Vincent Miles, Kenny Nwoko and Rosa Palmer.
Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists of the Year and Local Veterans Employment Representative of the Year:
These awards are voted on by the State Veterans Program team that evaluates each member of the Jobs for Veterans’ State Grant team to acknowledge individuals that go above and beyond to serve military service members and veterans who have or continue to serve us. The recipients are: Ted Davis, CareerSource Tampa Bay and Tori Renza, CareerSource Palm Beach County.
Tampa receives grant for safer streets
The City of Tampa has been awarded a $2.6 million grant from the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to create safer conditions for all those traveling along priority corridors. The grant was funded through USDOT’s Safe Streets and Roads for All program. The city will be working with the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) to implement speed mitigation treatments along select roadways in underserved areas of the city, according to a city news release.
In Tampa, the number of traffic crashes continues to rise, with 355 individuals suffering from life-altering injuries and 79 deaths occurring on its streets in 2022. The year prior, there were 81 fatalities and 267 life-altering injuries. As part of the city’s mobility plan, Tampa M.O.V.E.S., released in 2023, locations where the posted speed exceeds the target speed have been identified and prioritized for speed mitigation efforts. The four corridors covered by this grant include Rowlett Park Drive, Palm Avenue, East Sligh Avenue and North 34th Street.
In addition to the $2.6 million grant, the City of Tampa will contribute $650,000 toward the project. Examples of speed mitigation efforts that may be applied include new striping and signage, speed feedback signs, new pedestrian crossings, and/or intersection bulb-outs using striping and posts to extend the sidewalk or curb line, the release says.
Young adults are being increasingly scammed
A study by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) has found that people between the ages of 18 to 24 are losing more money to scams than people in older age groups.
The report, “Target our youth: How scams are impacting ages 18-24,” highlights the types of scams, tactics and trends that are affecting people in that age group.
The data used in the report was based on information submitted to the BBB Scam Tracker between Jan. 1, 2022 and June 24, 2023.
The report shows that employment scams cause the highest median dollar loss of all types of scams involving the 18 to 24 age group. The median dollar loss in that category was $1,819, a news release about the report says.
Here’s a look at the top 10 riskiest scams, in rank order, for those ages 18 to 24:
Fake check/money order
Advance fee loan
Credit repair/debt relief
“It’s important that we spread awareness about employment scams, especially to younger people,” BBB Institute Executive Director Melissa Lanning Trumpowe, said in the release. “About 43% of employment scams reported by this age group included a mention of fake check scams. Many reported being told to deposit checks into their accounts and then transfer funds to a vendor to pay for training or office equipment. By the time they realized the check was bad, the money was gone. We must make sure young people understand it takes time for checks to clear and to be sure they’re good.”
About 19% of employment scams from this age group mentioned schemes involving inspecting or reshipping packages.
Online purchase scams constituted 29.1% of all reports submitted by individuals in this age group, with 81.4% reporting a loss of money from the transaction.
Scammers targeting this age group were most likely to use text messaging or internet messaging — with those methods used more frequently in the 18-to-24 age category than in others, according to the news release.
The contact methods with the highest likelihood of a monetary loss (susceptibility) included website and social media. The contact methods with the highest reported median dollar loss were phone call, text message, and in person.
This age group also reported a higher percentage of scams targeting them on Instagram and X (Twitter) than other age groups.
Ages 18 to 24 also reported a higher percentage of scams via online payment system and bank account debit. The payment methods for this age group with the highest median dollar loss were wire transfer ($2,150), check ($1,500) and cryptocurrency ($1,200).
To see the research report and highlights, visit BBB.org/YouthScams.