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Lee County Commissioners approve $300k block grant funding for tornado victims

Posted at 6:00 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 06:06:50-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Community members devastated by the tornadoes that ripped through Fort Myers in January are about to see more relief.

“There’s hard days and everything, but things are looking up much nicer,” says Mark Novak - who sustained roof damage to his mobile home at Century 21 Mobile Home Park due to the tornadoes.

He tells Fox 4 that new money from a community services block grant approved by the Lee County Board of Commissioners will help him pay for the thousands of dollars in damages, which he estimates to be between $16,000 and $20,000.

“It affects the pocketbook, you know, you have this money. I had to come up with the money, I’ve had some large quotes from contractors, how much it’s going to cost, and I’m just trying to put together how exactly I’ll pay for that," says Novak, speaking on the biggest impact from the block grant.

Roger Mercado, the Director for the Lee County Human and Veteran Services, says that eligible recipients must meet certain income benchmarks before receiving the assistance.

“There are some eligibility criteria. It’s really a case-by-case situation. But the three hundred thousand dollars will be put towards kind of the larger effort by many folks, trying to help the folks that were impacted," says Mercado.

Those. dollars are an addition to the funds that were provided by the state government last month.

“It will be more service delivery of housing repair versus any kind of direct allocation to anyone," Mercado says, describing the difference.

He says it's a hopeful sign for a recovering community.

“It really is a community that’s coming together and we’re just one piece of it. So there’s a lot of nonprofits that have been doing a lot of heavy lifting already as a result, and so this is just one more piece of the pie that we can just put together to help the folks that were impacted," he says.

“It’s a good feeling here. And we’re moving along, you know? It’s been probably three months now I think, or pretty close to it, and things are moving slowly but you just take one day at a time and it’ll all work out in the end," says Novak.

For more information on how you can apply to receive that funding, you can call the Lee County Human and Veteran Services at 239-533-7900.