The bright lights will return Reid Ave.
More people of need will receive assistance on home repairs.
And the Citizens of Gulf County Long-Term Recovery Committee will be able to streamline its process to serve those with unmet needs after Hurricane Michael.
The Community Foundation of North Florida announced last week the distribution of nearly $600,000 in disaster relief funding to five Northwest Florida counties, including $140,000 to three organizations in Gulf County.
For the Citizens Long-Term Recovery Committee, the grant funding will enable the organization to put in place a case manager to oversee the process of assessment and addressing unmet needs that remain more than a year after Hurricane Michael.
The case manager position is crucial given that an April survey by World Renew identified unmet needs in the county nearing $10 million and by all indications the group tossed a spotlight on just a portion of the stage.
The board of the recovery committee and World Renew considered the number vastly conservative compared to the true need.
The Department of Health in Gulf County will undertake a community survey later this month.
With the grant funding awarded the recovery committee will be able to move forward with putting in place a case manager to help spearhead long-term recovery and housing needs.
The CFNF grant funding to CCDF dovetails with the case manager funding as the CCDF grant dollars will allow the non-profit to expand the number of home repairs the organization tackles as the major part of its mission.
As would be expected, the need for home repairs has spiked since Hurricane Michael and the CCDF has been collaborating with the long-term recovery committee as well as case managers with UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief).
The final grant dollars were directed to the Port Theatre and Art Culture Center, Inc. and are earmarked for rehabilitation of the sound and lighting systems as well as the stage.
“Getting something like that is a shot in the arm to keep going,” said David Warriner of PTACC board.
The press release from the CFNF noted that funding to the theater was aimed to assist with “community revitalization and engagement.”
More than five years ago a group representing state economic development agencies held a conference in Port St. Joe and the group identified the Port Theatre as crucial for reviving downtown and in turn all of Port St. Joe, economically.
And the theater is on something of a roll, sitting at No. 2 on the list for state historic grant funding when the Florida Legislature begins its 60-day session in January.
“We seem to be having some good fortune,” said Natalie Shoaf, another member of the PTACC board.
“And we have a roof,” Warriner said, noting the newly-installed theater roof, which Michael had skinned on it way through.
The CFNF undertook a study among the 11 counties its serves following Hurricane Michael and that study found five specific areas where grants would provide the most impact.
Those five were long-term recovery organization support; mental health and other medical needs; family stability, including food insecurity and childcare; economic, community and workforce development; and housing repair and rebuilding.
The disbursed grants went to the rural counties most impacted by Michael, including Gadsden, Liberty, Jackson and Calhoun.
“Recovering from a historic hurricane takes more than just grit; it takes time and targeted resources,” said Sam Rogers, board chair for the Community Foundation of North Florida. “By supporting these needs, our donors are making long-term, high-impact investments in communities in desperate need of hope.”
To fund this effort, the CFNF receives support from other community foundations across Florida and the country, private donations, Community Foundation fund holders, corporate partners, concerned citizens and One North Florida, according to a press release.
“The individuals, families and businesses the Foundation serves have two things in common,” said Katrina Rolle, CEO and president of the Foundation. “They care deeply about our community and want to make a long-term impact with their charitable giving.
“Every day we see how someone’s legacy of generosity impacts the lives of others. The half a million dollars given through the Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund will help our neighbors do just that by giving them the opportunity to continue to make long-term strides toward a brighter future.”