‘We need help’: No individual assistance yet for NWFL residents dealing with Sally damage

Northwest Florida

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared Northwest Florida a major disaster area following Hurricane Sally.

Following past storms, as Escambia County officials pointed out Thursday, this would mean residents in the area could apply for disaster relief funds from FEMA. It’s possible those funds won’t be available for residents this time.

With the disaster declaration, FEMA will provide funding to the area through its Public Assistance relief fund, which will go to local governments in the county to continue cleanup efforts, like debris pickup and repairs to public facilities.

FEMA has not yet approved funding for the area from its Individual Assistance fund, which would go to residents suffering from home damage and lost food after Sally.

Pensacola resident Tacia Gibbs believes residents should receive help to get back on their feet after the storm.

“We need help,” she said. “It’s very very hard out here.”

Gibbs lives off Lynch St. in Pensacola. She has 11 children.

Sally caused roof damage and extensive water damage inside the home.

“Everybody needs help,” Gibbs said. “You see on every street that Escambia County took a toll. Period. So, I feel like they should help us with the money. Give us something so we can financially fix our houses.”

State and county officials agree. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry and Florida Senator Doug Broxson said they were disappointed assistance for residents had not yet been approved.

“If John Doe makes an application to FEMA and is denied, that’s one thing,” Berry said. “If he doesn’t have the opportunity to apply for that direct assistance, that’s unfair.”

Berry added he believes the damage from Hurricane Sally is more than sufficient to allow extra funding to go to the people of Escambia County.

“We know as a board and as a county we deserve the individual assistance part of FEMA’s award,” he said. “We know that our numbers warrant that part.”

To help get that assistance for the county, officials want residents to take photographs of damage to their homes, write a narrative as to what they’re dealing with and send it in to the county. The county will then use these images in its relief fund application to FEMA.

You can send your photos and story to hurricanesally@myescambia.com.

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