Hurricane Irma left Joshua Layton homeless for a month after a tree fell through the roof of his house.
“This was one of the worst things I had to deal with,” he said.
So situations like Layton’s don’t happen again, the Florida Division of Emergency Management granted Alachua County a $194,000 grant Feb. 1, said Susan Meadows, a Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program coordinator for Alachua County. The county can use the funds to reinforce housing structures so they’ll survive storms like Irma.
The Hurricane Loss Mitigation Program is expected to help more than 35 homes, Meadows said. The deadline to apply on the Alachua County website is March 9.
“We’re trying to get applications for those in need,” Meadows said. “We want to help as many as we can.”
The program will assist with housing needs such as roof coverage, installation of hurricane straps and hurricane resistant windows, Meadows said.
Distribution of the grant is determined by the applicant’s annual household income and the amount of residents in the house, Meadows said.
Layton, a 23-year-old UF sociology senior, said the tree that fell on his house caused multiple holes, landed on the house’s power line and broke the main gas line.
“I don’t believe a county grant would have made a difference since the majority of the damage was caused by this huge tree,” he said. “However, there are many others that could benefit.”