On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) distributed $430,000 to 43 households impacted by the Southwest Florida tornadoes through the State of Florida’s tornado donation portal.
Within less than a month of launching the portal, more than $1.1 million has been raised through the donation portal to support impacted residents.
“While the federal government is still considering whether or not Floridians deserve assistance, we’ve been actively working to provide relief to these survivors,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This first round of checks, in addition to the other state programs we’ve made available, will help southwest Florida continue through the recovery process.”
The State continues to work with individuals who have requested assistance through the portal to distribute remaining funds. Residents who have not yet requested assistance but have been impacted by the Charlotte and Lee tornadoes can request assistance at FloridaDisaster.org/Assistance.
At this time, donations are being prioritized for survivors whose homes were assessed as being destroyed or sustaining major damage.
“I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made toward helping impacted residents recover from these tornadoes,” said FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie. “We still have more work to do, but the Division remains committed to coordinating assistance for these disaster survivors and ensuring they’re being connected with all available resources.”
Funding from the donation portal is in addition to the $7.4 million made available by the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) through the Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Earlier this month, DEO announced $7.1 million was available in CSBG and LIHEAP funding and Lee County has since received an additional $300,000 in CSBG funding to address additional unmet needs. Funding is dispersed from DEO to the Community Action Agencies in Charlotte and Lee counties and is available to help impacted individuals and families meet their immediate needs.
“Being from this community myself, I know what these resources mean to the people of Southwest Florida who are recovering from the tornadoes,” said DEO Secretary Dane Eagle. “DEO is proud to be a part of the collaborative effort to help the impacted communities achieve a full recovery.”
“When disaster strikes a Florida community, when Florida families are displaced or have lost their homes, Governor DeSantis takes action,” said Volunteer Florida CEO Corey Simon. “We are proud to work alongside our fellow agency partners, leverage our strengths and provide critical support to those Floridians devastated by the storms.”
“We hope that with this aid, in conjunction with local efforts, our neighbors begin to feel some sort of relief and restored faith in the humanitarian process,” said Charlotte Community Foundation CEO Ashley Maher. “Southwest Florida is full of compassionate and generous individuals who never turn their back to lending a hand to a neighbor in a need. Governor DeSantis, FDEM, Volunteer Florida, the many groups that we’ve had the opportunity to work with, and the numerous donors, we thank you for allowing Southwest Florida to once again, stand together and for showing that when philanthropy is met with passion, there will always be hope.”
Following the federal government’s denial of Florida’s request to provide assistance to individuals impacted by the tornadoes that touched down in Charlotte and Lee counties on January 16, the State of Florida launched a donation portal to provide immediate relief for disaster survivors impacted by the tornadoes.
The State of Florida is partnering with the Charlotte Community Foundation to collect and disburse donations for disaster survivors. All donations made through the FloridaDisaster.org/Assistance portal are tax-deductible.
Additional state resources continue to be available for disaster survivors. Recently, Governor DeSantis announced more than $2 million is available through the State Housing Initiative Program, in addition to the $7.4 million available through the Community Services Block Grant and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.