Complications Abound Weeks After the Storm

Today Mr. and Mrs. L came to NAM for help to unravel the complicated situation they now find themselves almost six weeks after Harvey. They have two children, both work and bought their first home four years ago after saving a significant down payment. They knew the house had flooded a bit in 2001 during Tropical storm Allison, so in addition to home owner's insurance, they carried flood insurance as well. 

Harvey hit three months after they had just finished renovating their family home and replacing all their furniture from the tax day floods in 2016. This time - the water hit the six foot mark and they lost everything, including their two cars.. They have not lived in their home since August 27th.   Yet they continue to make mortgage, insurance and tax payments while the family of four lives with Mrs. L's mother in her spare bedroom.

After waiting five weeks, they rec'd a letter from the City inspector stating the house needs to be demolished and rebuilt. Fema has denied their request for a grant because the damage is greater than 50% of the cost of the home. Instead they offered them a loan for $180K to demolish and rebuild. Additionally they offered $900 towards rent in the interim. They can not afford both a mortgage payment,  a FEMA loan payment of $600/mo and a rent payment plus deposits until their home is renovated. They cannot stay where they are for much longer. An apartment for a family of four will cost them far more than $900, especially now, as rents have climbed significantly.

The flood insurance adjuster tells them he will not be able to get to out to inspect the house for six to eight weeks.  He told them if they want to pay for a professional inspector approved by their insurance company, it might speed things up. They do not have the cash due to all the expenses they have incurred since Harvey in addition to their regular monthly obligations.

They came seeking help and advice to unravel the red tape. Mrs. L wants to stay in her home. She wants to rebuild as she loves her home and her neighbors, but does not see how they can. Mr. L knows they need to find a new place to live but they do not know how they can do that and still pay a mortgage on a home they cannot fix.

This is going to be a long process with tough decisions that must be made. If the insurance settlement covers what they owe on the home, they can pay off the mortgage.They don't expect to get their $50K equity that existed before Harvey. Recent reports, suggest that may not happen. The National Flood Insurance Program is only paying out a fraction of the  previous value if there is no current appraisal. 

In addition to clothing, food, and various other donated items, Mr. and Mrs. L left NAM with a plan after meeting with staff. They also feel better knowing there are good people in the world, ready to lend a hand to Neighbors in Need. Once they find an inspector, NAM will pay for the inspection needed to expedite a settlement so they can begin to move forward with their lives.

NAM is grateful to all those individuals, congregations, foundations and corporations that have stepped up to provide Relief Funds, especially: ARAMCO, Southwestern Energy, The David Weekley Family Foundation, The United Way, The Anderson Foundation, The Hamill Foundation and The Houston Relief Fund.  



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