Financial help is on the way for residents of Wichita County looking to build a storm shelter before possible tornadoes start dropping in. FEMA recently approved 100 storm shelter rebates for Wichita County residents.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Barry Mahler said the memory of the 1979 Tornado was at the front of his mind the entire year he and Judge Woody Gossom worked to get the program approved. He said, "That's one of the things that really perked out interest is we do still remember the devastation. Anything we can do to keep the citizens of Wichita County safe, that's what we're here for. Those are the kinds of programs we work on in county government.
The program will provide 100 private home owners with 50% of the cost to build a storm shelter up to $3,000. Mahler said, "It's first come first serve and of course there are qualifications."
Those who live in the flood plain won't be eligible for the program and if your home is more than 45 years old, you may need to get clearance from the Texas Historical Commission. Mahler said he expects the program to fill up quickly but added there could be more relief down the road. He said, "We have been told that if we complete our 100 applicants and get that going, and the programs working well, we may very well qualify for some additional ones."
The application can be found on the county Website.