New Financial Relief Available for April 2011 Tornado Victims


By Jessica Gertler

Families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in last year's April tornadoes could be eligible for financial help thanks to federal grant money.

Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will be handing out up to $8 million to tornado victims in central and north Alabama.

"The wind destroyed everything. I turned two times like a roller coaster," says Gustavo Cabrera.

Sixteen months ago CBS 8 News talked to Gustavo Cabrera. Days after a tornado ripped through Elmore County injuring him and destroying everything he owned.

"it's very difficult to go ahead with life and actually recover mentally," he says.

With no help from the state or federal government, Cabrera says he's barely survived.

"We don't have a home. We are still going a head in life, and living in different places and trying to rebuild home," he says.

But that may all change for tornado victims like Cabrera. Thanks to federal grant money, tornado victims could receive up to $25,000 to repair or build their homes.

To be eligible for the funding, you must prove you own your home and it was damaged by the storm, and you have not received any money from any other source.

"I'm hoping it brings people back to a stable place where they were before April. That they are able to maintain that," says Felicia Watkins Jackson with A.R.C.H.

The grant stretches over 30 counties including Elmore, Autauga, Marengo, Perry and Hale.

Priority will go to people who are elderly and disabled, low-income, those with children or those who've been displaced.

Cabrera says he'll be applying for the grant money, because he could use the help. Anything to get his family a place to call home again.

"Really. We need help. Really," he says.

You have the next two months to apply for the grant money.

To start the application process call 211 on your land line phone, or if you have a cell phone, call toll free, 1-888-421-1266.