Disaster Recovery Centers Open in Taylor County as communities rebuild after Idalia

Posted at 7:07 PM, Sep 12, 2023
  • The State of Florida and FEMA opened Disaster Recovery Centers in Taylor County.
  • The centers will remain open until further notice.
  • Watch the video to see how one business owner is working to recover nearly two weeks after the storm.


A dream that one man and his wife had to make the community smile was destroyed by Hurricane Idalia.

"Never in a million years did I think a hurricane would come through here."

Christopher James owns a Christmas shop in town.

Nearly two weeks after the hurricane, rebuilding is off to a slow start.

" I try my best to put one foot in front of the other and try to manage things, do I cry, yes every day"

Christopher James owns Christopher's Marketplace Square. Hurricane Idalia ripped it apart. When you walk in and you'll see Christmas EVERYWHERE. Drummer boys, Christmas trees and of course lots and lots of lights

"I always had a passion for Christmas, I love Christmas, it's a fun time."

Christopher tells me it's going to take a lot to clean up the shop.

"It would be nice if people would help me get the fences back up and get the tins out of the way and lift the walls in the back."

Small businesses across the Big Bend are feeling the pain after the storm.

I spoke with FEMA. They opened a disaster Recovery Center in Perry Tuesday.

"It has to be from Hurricane Idalia for those to qualify for benefits."

FEMA's Maria Pozsonyi tells me that the Small Business Administration has partnered with FEMA to help those during this difficult time.

Anyone who is in a declared county that suffered lost due to hurricane Idalia is eligible to apply.

Primary counties for this disaster declaration include Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor in Florida

Pozsonyi tells me they are waiting to provide those with relief as they navigate their options and that they're here to help.

"Those who might think that they do not have damages, it's good that they still come in and apply too because in some cases they're not sure about the damages, once they come and talk to us, we can offer either types of assistance."

People like Christopher are still looking for help but are looking forward to the future. That future for him… impacting the community in a positive way.

"I want people to leave here with a smile on their faces."

Both SBA and FEMA told me people who are interested in applying can either go to one of FEMA's locations across the Big Bend or go through SBA itself. Individuals will need to bring a photo ID, Social Security, and proof of address. In Perry, I'm Ashley Engle, ABC 27.