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Federal Disaster Assistance for Homeowners and Renters


Homeowners and renters in Leon County who were affected by the severe storms, straight-line winds and tornadoes on May 10 may apply for FEMA disaster assistance.

Disaster assistance can include financial help with immediate needs, temporary lodging and home repairs, as well as other disaster-related expenses.

There are several ways to apply:

Multilingual operators are available. If you use a relay service, captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA your number for that service.

Residents can visit the Disaster Recovery Center at the Leon County LeRoy Collins Main Library, 200 W. Park Ave., to get help with an application for federal assistance. The center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The center will be closed on July 4 in observance of Independence Day. No appointment is necessary. All services provided are free.

The mobile FEMA Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) will also be available on a rotational schedule.

From Tuesday, July 16 through Sunday, July 21, the mobile DRC will be located at the Jane G. Sauls Ft. Braden Branch Library. The center will be open from 12 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Wednesday, July 17, through Sunday, July 21.

When you apply for assistance, please have the following information ready:

  • A current phone number where you can be contacted
  • Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are now staying
  • Your Social Security number
  • A general list of damage and losses
  • Banking information if you choose direct deposit
  • If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name

If you have homeowners, renters or flood insurance, you should file a claim as soon as possible.

FEMA cannot duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance. If your policy does not cover all your disaster expenses, you may be eligible for federal assistance.

For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance, visit FEMA's YouTube page

 

Federal Disaster Assistance for Businesses


Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available to businesses and residents in Florida following the announcement of a Presidential disaster declaration for severe storms, straight-line winds, and tornadoes that occurred on May 10.

The disaster declaration covers Leon County, which is eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA. Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in the following adjacent counties are eligible to apply only for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs): Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Liberty and Wakulla in Florida; and Grady and Thomas in Georgia.

Disaster survivors should not wait to settle with their insurance company before applying for a disaster loan. If a survivor does not know how much of their loss will be covered by insurance or other sources, SBA can make a low-interest disaster loan for the total loss up to its loan limits, provided the borrower agrees to use insurance proceeds to reduce or repay the loan.

Businesses and private nonprofit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.

Disaster loans up to $500,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for up to $100,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future damage.

Interest rates are as low as 4% for businesses, 3.25% for nonprofit organizations, and 2.688% for homeowners and renters, with terms of up to 30 years. Interest does not begin to accrue, and monthly payments are not due, until 12 months from the date of the initial disbursement. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

Building back smarter and stronger can be an effective recovery tool for future disasters. Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase of up to 20% of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room or storm shelter, sump pump, French drain or retaining wall to help protect property and occupants from future disasters.

With the changes to FEMA’s Sequence of Delivery, survivors are now encouraged to simultaneously apply for FEMA grants and the SBA low-interest disaster loan assistance to fully recover. FEMA grants are intended to cover necessary expenses and serious needs not paid by insurance or other sources. The SBA disaster loan program is designed for your long-term recovery, to make you whole and get you back to your pre-disaster condition. Do not wait on the decision for a FEMA grant; apply online and receive additional disaster assistance information at SBA.gov/Disaster.

Applicants may apply online and receive additional disaster assistance information at SBA.gov/Disaster. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email DisasterCustomerService@SBA.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, please dial 7-1-1 to access telecommunications relay services.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is August 16, 2024. The deadline to return economic injury applications is March 17, 2025.

 

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program


Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that helps income-eligible families with expenses related to HVAC and utiliites. FloridaCommerce works with a network of Community Action Agencies throughout the state of Florida to get this money directly to households in need. 

LIHEAP funds may provide disaster financial assistance in Leon County for the following:

  • To reconnect home power, including utility deposits, late fees, and reconnect fees.
  • To pay for temporary housing.
  • To buy generators and help pay for generator fuel.
  • To reconnect power lost due to a storm, including electrical wiring or gas line inspection, utility boxreplacement, contractor’s or subcontractor’s cost to repair electrical wiring or gas lines, or other feesrequired to assure resumption of services.
  • To purchase or repair air conditioning and heating systems, including paying for installation of newsystems.

To apply for this assistance, please visit FloridaJobs.org/LIHEAPHelp. For more information on these benefits available in Leon County, contact Capital Area Community Action Agency at 850-222-2043, or visit their office at 309 Office Plaza Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32301.

 

Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan


FloridaCommerce activated the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program, making $2 million available for businesses impacted by the recent severe weather that impacted North Florida. Florida small business owners in need of assistance are encouraged to visit www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Businesses in Baker, Columbia, Escambia, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla counties, including sole proprietors, are eligible to apply. 

The program provides short-term, zero-interest loans to small businesses that experienced economic injury or physical damage due to May North Florida Tornadoes. Interested applicants can apply now through July 10, 2024, or until all available funds are expended.

 

Recovery Assistance


As our community strides towards recovery following the May 10 tornadoes, the 2-1-1 Big Bend helpline can connect you to disaster relief resources, including food, transportation, mental health resources, individual/family support services, and more. Call takers will assist you through referral and case tracking.
 
Call 2-1-1 or 850-617-6333.
 
 

Food Replacement and Distribution


SECOND HARVEST OF THE BIG BEND

To view Second Harvest of the Big Bend's distribution calender for Leon County, click here.

For a complete list of Second Harvest of the Big Bend food pantries in Leon County, click here.

 

Information About Property Taxes for County Homeowners with Tornado-Related Damage


The Leon County Property Appraiser’s Office has provided information to help homeowners understand how tornado-related storm damage may affect their property taxes. For the 2024 tax year, property values are based on their condition as of January 1, 2024, and will not be reassessed until January 1, 2025. Homeowners do not need to report damage directly, as the appraiser's office systematically collects and monitors property condition data year-round. If a home is uninhabitable for at least 30 days due to a catastrophic event, homeowners may qualify for a property tax refund.

 

Vegetative Debris Collection and Drop Off


VEGETATIVE DEBRIS COLLECTION FOR UNINCORPORATED HOUSEHOLDS

Leon County is collecting curbside vegetative disaster debris for the unincorporated area of the county. The final pass for debris collection began on Monday, June 24, for vegetative storm debris in the unincorporated area.

Collection will occur on both public and private roads in the unincorporated area.

As citizens begin their cleanup efforts, it is essential to remember the following tips:

  • All debris for collection should be placed curbside between the sidewalk or property line and the curb.
  • Keep vegetative debris loose and unbagged at the curb.
  • Only vegetative disaster storm debris will be collected.
  • Be careful and safe when moving large, bulky storm-related debris to the curb.
  • Debris removal trucks will not pick up household garbage; Waste Pro will continue to collect trash, recycling, and smaller yard debris as usual on their normally scheduled days.
  • Do not stack or lean debris against sprinkler heads, meters, poles, trees, backflows, and other structures.

For information on how best to organize debris and how to safely place materials at the curb, please review the included debris disposal guide.

 

PROGRESS TO DATE

Collection Total to Date: 342,925 cubic yards

Truck Loads: 6,816 loads of debris

Hurricane Idalia (2023) Collection Total: 22,000 cubic yards

 

VEGETATIVE DEBRIS DROP OFF FOR ALL COUNTY RESIDENTS

To further support the needs of our community, Leon County offers free-of-charge vegetative debris drop-off for Leon County residents in the unincorporated area at both the Solid Waste Management Facility and all the Rural Waste Service Centers.

The Leon County Solid Waste Management Facility, located at 7550 Apalachee Parkway, is open to all County residents from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Leon County Rural Waste Service Centers is also open to all County residents on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Woodville, 549 Henry Jones Road
  • Fort Braden, 2485 East Joe Thomas Road
  • Miccosukee, 13051 Miccosukee Road

For questions regarding debris collection in the unincorporated area of Leon County, citizens can call 850-606-1500 or submit a request online at LeonCountyFL.gov/ServiceRequest.

 

Private Property Tree Removal


Residents can reach out to the 2-1-1 Big Bend helpline for private property tree removal referrals.

 

Florida Commerce Business Damage Assessment Survey


FloridaCommerce and the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) activated the Business Damage Assessment Survey in response to the May Severe Weather event. Survey responses will allow the state to expedite recovery efforts by gathering data and assessing the needs of affected businesses. Businesses can complete the survey online by visiting FloridaDisaster.biz and selecting “May North Florida Tornadoes” from the dropdown menu. 

 

Contractors Encouraged to Register for Florida Disaster Contractors Network


The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation encourages Florida-licensed contractors interested in providing post-storm construction-related services to register with its Florida Disaster Contractors Network.

 

County Waives Permit Fees for Storm-Related Repairs


In response to the May 10 tornado outbreak, Leon County will waive growth management and building permit fees for storm-related repairs, along with permit fees for the removal of storm-damaged trees, to alleviate the financial burden for residents in unincorporated Leon County. Additionally, fees will be waived retroactively for projects already completed for residents in the unincorporated area upon request. Waived permit fees for storm-related repairs are projected to save unincorporated County residents hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For more information, residents can contact Leon County Development Support and Environmental Management at 850-606-1300 or visit the County’s website at LeonCountyFL.gov/DSEM.

To qualify for the waiver, the work must be performed by the homeowner or a licensed contractor. Leon County encourages residents to ensure that any contractor they hire is licensed by the State of Florida. This licensing process is crucial for protecting property owners from incompetent or dishonest contractors. To find a list of licensed contractors, visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website at MyFloridaLicense.com/DBPR or call 850-487-1395.

 

Leon County Property Damage Assessment


Leon County Emergency Management is seeking assistance from the public to document damage within Tallahassee and Leon County resulting from the severe weather incident that occurred on Friday, May 10, 2024.

Click here to fill out the Leon County Property Damage Form.

Once a citizen has completed a Property Damage Assessment, Leon County adds that report to our initial damage assessment. Your reported damage helps us appeal to the federal government for disaster relief and assistance. Your reported damage can help tell the story that our community needs national assistance to recover and return to normal.

Also, after filling out the form, if you have unmet needs please contact 2-1-1 Big Bend by dialing 2-1-1 or calling 850-617-6333.

 

Stay Informed


  • LeonReady.com – The Leon Ready website is a hub of resources to help you, your family and your neighborhood prepare for disasters. There are a variety of resources available, like the County’s Disaster Survival Guide, a full list of disaster supplies for your disaster bucket, and so much more, to increase your readiness.

  • Download the Leon County Citizens Connect Mobile App - Completely redesigned, the Citizens Connect mobile app puts timely emergency notifications at your fingertips through push notifications on your smartphone or other device. Be the first to know about shelter locations, road closures and service changes by downloading the application from the Apple and Google Play stores.

  • Visit the Leon County Emergency Information Portal - Hosting the same information as the Citizens Connect app, the Emergency Information Portal can be accessed on a desktop or a mobile browser by visiting LeonCountyFL.gov/ei.

  • Listen to 88.9 WFSU-FM - Citizens can tune in to 88.9 FM for the most up-to-date information from local public safety officials. Featuring up-to-the-minute reporting, WFSU, Leon County and the City of Tallahassee remain committed to getting information out on the radio as soon as possible. 

  • Additionally, iHeartRadio will also provide updates on the following stations: WFLA-FM 100.7, WFLF-FM 94.5, WTNT 94.9, KISS-FM 107.1, X-FM101.5, and The Beat-FM 105.3. 

  • Call 2-1-1Big Bend - If you need community information, services and support any day of the year, Big Bend 2-1-1 is reachable by dialing either 2-1-1 or 850-617-6333.

  • Call 850-606-3700with questions - Leon County Emergency Management staff is available to answer questions about how you should prepare, act and recover. 

  • For updates on City of Tallahassee Utilities and other City services, visit Talgov.com.

 

Stay prepared by visiting LeonReady.com for disaster resilience resources and guides.

 

 

 

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