FEMA assistance now available for Charlotte County Idalia victims

Reporter: Annalise Iraola Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

A common site across all of Southwest Florida is damage from Hurricane Ian, but recently, Ian isn’t the only hurricane that hit our area. Hurricane Idalia also left its mark.

But on Monday, FEMA amended the disaster declaration and added Charlotte County, which means residents who were affected by Hurricane Idalia can apply for individual assistance and debris pickup.

When WINK News first caught up with Ashley Harris and her husband, Christian Harris, they were dealing with major flooding in their home and were forced to move out after Idalia.

Ashley campaigned on social media for people to fill out storm surveys in Charlotte County so that the state would make an amendment for this area to get aid from FEMA.

Now the day they’ve waited and worked for has finally come.

After Hurricane Idalia hit Florida, people in Charlotte County, like Ashley, were stuck.

“Everybody was looking at where the hurricane actually hit up north in the panhandle, and they don’t really realize how bad it was down here until the storm surge. So there were actually hundreds of residents here in Charlotte County that were affected,” Ashley said.

At first, Charlotte County was not listed as an area that could get aid from FEMA.

The Harris’ Punta Gorda home had major flooding, with some water trapped under a subfloor for weeks.

That was the last time Wink News interviewed the Harris’.

“There was just so much damage. I mean, we’re probably close to $100,000 [in] damage, which doesn’t even touch some of what our neighbors unfortunately had to deal with,” Ashley said.

Now, it’s a whole new story.

“Super excited because we’ve been working on this for over a month,” Ashley said.

She got a call from Charlotte County Emergency Management Tuesday morning saying that what she’s worked for is coming true.

But this doesn’t mean aid is automatic. People will still need to apply for FEMA aid, but for the Harris’ and neighbors in Charlotte County, it’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’ve been a resident of Charlotte County my whole life, so I just want to do what’s best for everybody here,” Ashley said.

If you live in Charlotte County and were affected by Ian, you can apply to FEMA for individual assistance and debris removal.

The deadline to apply is October 30th.

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