FEMA awards over $1 million in grants to tornado victims in Jackson County

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 10:23 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2023 at 3:37 PM CDT
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MOSS POINT, Miss. (WALA) - More than a million dollars is going to Jackson County, Mississippi following an EF-2 tornado in June.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency told FOX10 News it awarded grants to some 450 victims, and people are already seeing the money in the bank to begin rebuilding their homes.

Moss Point Mayor Billy Knight said FEMA left Moss Point on the Sept. 15. While their base is no longer there, applications are still available online until Oct. 11.

One tornado victim said she got her award last week.

“Every time I want to look at it, I want to cry because it’s home,” said Sonia Hester, a FEMA grant recipient.

Hester showed the inside of her childhood home, where she rode out the twister on June 19.

She said the storm knocked the house off its foundation, a tree fell on top, and the roof caved in in the living room and kitchen.

She desperately needed the FEMA aid.

“I applied with FEMA because I didn’t have windstorm insurance,” she said. “They gave me $9,800 to rebuild, and it’s going to cost a lot more than that because my house is completely destroyed.”

Knight said the money from FEMA is a starting point, and it’s up to recipients to decide when and how to re-build.

FEMA said 923 people have registered in Jackson County, and 453 have been approved. The money is mainly sent through direct deposit. They added several hundred registrations are still being processed, and a total of $1.4 million is being awarded to Jackson County.

Although Hester appreciates the help, she said she still has a long way to go.

“I just don’t have the funds, to get it started right now, but I am,” she said.

FEMA said some applications may be denied due to missing documents.

If you are denied, call 800-621-3362.

The Small Business Association has approved $1,135,800 million in loans for homeowners and renters who’ve applied. They have also approved $319,400 in disaster loans for businesses and non-profits. The total loan approval for Jackson County is $1,455,200.

According to the SBA, their team in Moss Point is still stationed at City Hall Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private non-profits with disaster relief loans.