Move? Repair? Burn it down? Leave it? Give it away for next to nothing? Wait?
Six months after Hurricane Ike’s storm surge that flooded hundreds of homes in the parish, there are those who have yet to make a decision on what to do with their flooded homes.
“I’m waiting to see what kind of money I will get” is a common answer from a flooded victim.
I know many who flooded in September and are in no better shape than they were a week after it flooded. Their house is dry but their walls are still gutted. They live with exposed insulated walls.
“Are you back in your house?”
That is a common question I get once a week. The answer is “nope.” Not for another three to six months is my normal response.
A better question should be: “Have you made a decision on what to do with your house?”
Ask that question to someone who has yet to move back into their flooded house and you may get a surprise answer.
Many have not made a decision on what do with their flooded home because of money. They need more of it and they are hoping they get that extra help from the Police Jury.
Tuesday night at the Abbeville library will be a chance for those who were flooded due to Hurricane Ike to express their desire as to what the Police Jury should do with the $8 million it is getting from the federal government. The money is designated to go towards those who were affected by Hurricane Ike.
The Police Jury will have a public meeting to listen to those who were flooded or live near the area that was flooded. The public will be there to tell the Police Jury what the Police Jury should do with the $8 million.
Everyone will have different ideas about how the $8 million should be spent.
Some will want to the Police Jury to buyout their homes, while others will want to use the money to help repair or lift their homes. Maybe the public would like the Police Jury to use the money to build small levees near Delcambre and Erath. Who knows?
I’ll go on record as saying I think all of the money should be used to help those who need more money to help with lifting their home in order not to flood again.
To lift a 1,500 square foot wooden house on pillars is around $30,000. If you had flood insurance before the flood, the government will give $30,000 to lift, so you should not qualify for any Police Jury money.
However, if you did not have flood insurance, got flooded and want to lift, the Police Jury money should be available to you.
Own a brick home and would like to lift but don’t want to drain your retirement fund? The Police Jury should be able to help you lift with the help of the $8 million. The average cost is around $110,000 to lift a brick home, build a new floor, re-plumb it, and side it. There is $60,000 of free money available from the government to go towards lifting. Coming up with the rest of the money has been challenging to most flooded homeowners.
The Police Jury money would be the answer everyone has been looking for.
Then there are those who think the money should be used to buyout homes from residents who want to leave their flooded home. The money will not go too far if the Police Jury has to give people $100,000 per home per buyout. If you do the math, that is only 80 homes. There were at least 400 homes flooded during Ike.
The good thing about Tuesday’s public meeting is that if a majority of the people want the Police Jury to buy out their homes, then the Police Jury must listen and come up with a plan to make it happen.
I just hope the room is packed with residents eager to recommend to the Police Jury what to do with the $8 million.