Four Leon County families now have new homes after their old ones were damaged by Tropical Storm Fay in 2008. County officials handed over keys to the homeowners at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.
Emily Gerrell was living here, at the Greenwood Park Mobile Home Estates in Southeast Tallahassee, in 2008 when Tropical Storm Fay hit.
“The water was gushing in the back door," she says.
The flood left black mold in the walls and carpet of her home. But today, she’s seeing her brand new home for the first time.
“Oh! It’s absolutely beautiful," she said as she entered the front door.
In her old house, her grandchildren couldn’t visit her for fear of their safety, but now she sits in a bedroom that’s already been claimed by her 5-year old granddaughter.
“She’s told me all about, ‘Mine’s the big room on the end, Gaga.’ She calls me Gaga," she said.
At Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Gerrell said she hadn’t believed the county would actually give her the new home. “I’ve never in my 62 years anything given to me. And I don’t know how to accept it. It’s like a dream. It’s like I’m going to wake up and it’s not going to be real," she said.
Another recipient of a new home was Virgina Lamb.
"I just want to decorate, I just want to shine and clean and everything, and, thank you so much!" she said.
Leon County Administrator Vincent Long spoke before the ribbon cutting: “Welcome to your new homes. We’re just so happy to have been a part of this and happy to help. And we hope you and your families enjoy these homes for many years to come.”
Leon County replaced the all four homes with a Disaster Recovery Grant administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.