DeSantis: $2.5 million in loans to be granted to 55 small businesses

Thirty-four of the 55 selected are from Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee and Sarasota counties, the governor said.

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – As Florida communities continue their relief efforts after Hurricane Ian passed through the state, more help is being provided to those hardest hit.

At a Monday press conference in Port Charlotte, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that the first $2.5 million in loans are expected to go to 55 small businesses. Funded by Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, loan recipients range from restaurants to body shops.

Thirty-four of the 55 selected come from Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee and Sarasota counties, the governor explained.

“There will be more to come on that,” DeSantis said of business loans.

The governor also announced that all but three Charlotte County schools are set to reopen Monday morning after being closed since Ian.

“It’s going to be really, really important. It’s obviously important for academic progression…” DeSantis said.

In light of ongoing recovery and relief efforts, First Lady Casey DeSantis also announced a $41 million fundraiser for disaster relief. In addition to the money, she says the state is working on a toy drive for children affected by Ian, explaining that they will work with faith-based and nonprofit partners for the project.

And since Monday is the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Michael which ripped through northwest Florida, DeSantis also announced an additional $126 million to be awarded to 24 communities across the Panhandle that are still under reconstruction.

Watch the full press conference below.

James V. Hayes