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472 neighbors got tornado relief from Leon County, others are still looking for help

Posted at 6:05 PM, Jun 05, 2024
  • More than 1,000 neighbors applied for recovery assistance through the TEAM Leon Program.
  • About 47 percent of applicants received funding; others in city limits did not qualify.
  • Watch the video to find out what resources are also available for neighbors:

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

472 neighbors outside of Tallahassee City limits got tornado relief funding from Leon County. Hundreds of others are still looking for help.

Many people have a similar tornado story to David Bailey's.

"We lost our stove, we had to replace something in our AC as well as our heater. We lost a bunch of food," Bailey said.

He and his wife are both visually impaired and say it's been hard recovering from impacts of the storms on May 10.

Stories like those are why Leon County launched their TEAM Leon microgrant program.

I checked with the county Wednesday.

They awarded money to 472 neighbors who were impacted by the storm. Something commissioner David O'Keefe said was needed after those tornadoes.

"May had a devastating impact on people and businesses," O'Keefe said.

Over 1,000 neighbors applied. A little less than half got money.

One of those people: owner of Bagigio's Italian Terry Hogan. We spoke with her before and after she got that funding.

People like Bailey couldn't qualify because they live within Tallahassee's city limits.

"We lost power we went through all of that and I think we need a little assistance and it's not just us, it's the whole community," Bailey said.

Leon County commissioners said at their May 14 commission meeting that the funding would be only for rural neighbors.

"I think it's best to stick with only the rural residents and ask the city to handle inside of city limits," Commissioner Nick Maddox told the commission.

As of yet, no city-led storm relief programs have been announced.

As for the county's relief, I asked O'Keefe…

"How did the county prioritize who got funding?"

"You had to live outside of city limits," O'Keefe said. "We prioritized anyone living directly in the path of the tornadoes that saw major property damage."

Neighbors who didn't get funding do have options, though.

The state offered Leon County $600k through the State Housing Initiatives Partnership. But, those are only for unincorporated neighbors.

"We're working on getting a presidential disaster that would unlock a lot of federal emergency management funds," O'Keefe said.

Bailey hopes that arrives soon.

"We're working on how to get the finances together to get through the next month because money is tight," Bailey said.

People who received the funding should expect a check in the mail or they can choose to pick it up at a county office.