Grant money helps family with Irma damage

- Nancy Waddle is still emotional remembering the night Hurricane Irma forced her from her home.

"I just cried," she said. 

A tree toppled onto the roof above her bedroom, which then flooded from the torrential rains.

Waddle and her son salvaged what they could and threw out the rest. Then, along with their three dogs, they started staying at a nearby hotel.

But a month after the storm came through, she still hasn’t been able to make repairs to her home.

"When it rains now, even with the tarp up there, the water still comes in," Waddle explained.

FEMA could only help out so much and her homeowner's insurance won't cover the needed repairs.

But she’s getting some much-needed help from a $30,000 grant started by the Pinellas Community Foundation and given to the Florida Dream Center.

"The Florida Dream Center received the funds to do the repairs for several homes in the community," said Steve Cleveland, CEO of The Florida Dream Center. 

"They are helping to mobilize volunteers and supplies to help residents in our community who are affected by storms, who might not be able to get trees cut up, not be able to get debris to the curb, might not have the funds to do that," added Duggan Cooley, Executive Director of the Pinellas Community Foundation.

The Florida Dream Center stepped in when Nancy felt she had nobody else to turn to, and for that she says, she is grateful. In about a month, Waddle and her family will be able to return to their home.

"It took a big weight off my shoulders," she said.  "I can't wait. That is what pretty much gets me through going through the days is knowing eventually I will get back to my house."

The $30,000 grant will help several other homes in Pinellas County.

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