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Problems from last month's storm still linger in Progress Village

PROGRESS VILLAGE — Two weeks after storms ravaged Progress Village, the lives of many of its residents are still in upheaval.

Noah Goodson hasn't slept at home since March 31, when winds tore the carport from the front of his house and blew it into the back yard, damaging the roof in the process.

"The devastation is horrible," he said.

He's been seeking help for repairs, including from his insurance agency, but assistance has been sparse, he said.

On Tuesday, the day that Gov. Rick Scott declared Hillsborough County residents eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration loans because of the disaster, Goodson got the paperwork he needed to apply.

The low-interest loans are available to renters, homeowners, businesses and organizations to repair or replace property damaged by the storm. To be approved, applicants must display their ability to repay the loan and the property must be inspected.

The deadline to apply is June 6. Application assistance is available at the Progress Village Recreation Center, 8701 Progress Village Blvd., through 7 p.m. Saturday.

On Tuesday, Nitaka Walker visited the recreation center, which has served as a temporary disaster assistance hub since the storm, seeking help covering her electricity bill. The utility company cut power to her home after she had trouble paying the high bill, she said.

All her energy, she said, has been invested in the home that suffered flooding and a broken window during the storm.

"I've been working on the home nonstop," she said. "It's just trashed everywhere."

Four trees are still on the ground in her back yard awaiting removal by the county, she said.

Since the storms rolled through, the American Red Cross has helped 67 people and served more than 1,500 meals in Hillsborough County, said agency spokeswoman Janet McGuire.

But the work isn't over yet.

"It's going to be an ongoing process until each one of them is taken care of," she said.

Meanwhile, Goodson hopes help will find its way to him.

"I'll just apply for the loan and see what happens," he said. "That's all I can do."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2442.

Problems from last month's storm still linger in Progress Village 04/14/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011 4:31am]
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