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Flood victims reluctant to use loans as options for homes and rentals

4 months 1 week 3 days ago September 06, 2016 Sep 6, 2016 Tuesday, September 06 2016 September 06, 2016 6:55 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Mark Armstrong

BATON ROUGE – Getting a loan through the federal government might be the only option to get homes or rental properties up and running again, but for many the coast is just too high.

One resident, Christy Harper, owns a flooded home in Baton Rouge, but does not live there because it is one of her rental properties.

"I'm 70 years old and I live on social security and my rental properties, that has always been my plan... that was my investment for my future and I had three houses and they're all flooded," Harper said.

Like many people, seeking help from the federal government has been frustrating, but often the government offers the only options available even if they are difficult ones. Garth MacDonald, of the Small Business Administration, wants Harper to consider a loan with the agency and says that he understands that it is not an easy choice.

"We're not just here to earn a paycheck. I think almost everyone I work with, both FEMA, the state, they're service-oriented people that want to help make this tough time less difficult for people like yourself," MacDonald said.

Harper is reluctant to get a loan because that would mean owing more on her house than its total value and she fears she can't afford the debt. She is left heartbroken since she loves the family currently living in her rental property.

"I had to call Shirley and Chris and tell them that I'm so sorry but I don't have the money to fix the house and we were both in tears. That's all I can say... there's nothing else that I could do," Harper said.

Shirley and Christoper Ellis are the working couple who live in the home and have four children. They say all they want to do is move back in.

"We love this home, we basically moved in because of space, and the price range also, it's a beautiful area, location wise and my daughter has a wonderful school even though it got flooded," Shirley said.

For Harper, figuring out what she will do will be a tough choice to make.

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