Lee County residents affected by January tornadoes to get help from United Methodist Church

Reporter: Gail Levy
Published: Updated:
A house in Iona, FL, is seen after being wrecked by a tornado in January 2022. Credit: WINK News

Southwest Floridians is impacted by the January tornadoes are finally getting some relief.

The $1.8 million dollars was approved on Tuesday.

At least 32 households will receive these funds. But the qualifications include full-time residents who are low to moderate-income, who suffered because of the storms.

Four months after the Jan. 16 tornadoes, windows are still broken, roofs are still gone and remnants of a Christmas tree still lie between the broken glass.

“I’ve been through four hurricanes and I never had this kind of damage, ever,” said Jane Welborn, who lives at Center 21, a community hit by the tornadoes.

She has lived there for 20 years and owns two homes there. She stays in one of the homes and rents out the other.

“I lost a roof, I lost a carport and I lost a lanai. So the sunroom is gone, just gone,” Welborn said.

She has her fingers crossed she is one of the 32 homes that will get help.

“I just need to get my house back in order so I can live as we used to because our whole lives have changed,” Welborn said.

The money that will help these families is not coming from the county, it’s coming from the United Methodist Church.

“The money just came through and it’s donated. So we’re getting that money to the people because obviously, DC turn their backs to the area,” said Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass. “They did not help the victims here with the tornadoes.”

Pendergrass said the county is still working to find funding for part-time residents.

Jean Tysak’s home is totaled.

But she won’t see a dime from the grant money.

“I wish we could get some help for the residents that are not full-time,” Tysak said.

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