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Lake Charles evacuees worried they'll have to return home to nothing

1 month 1 week 6 days ago Monday, October 19 2020 Oct 19, 2020 October 19, 2020 5:05 PM October 19, 2020 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – There’s a new concern for people who lost everything during back-to-back hurricanes. Some from the Lake Charles area are now faced with the possibility of being homeless again.

"I don't know of any options that I have. I don't have any plans,” Dorothy Taylor said.

Taylor is staying at the Microtel Inn and Suites near the airport for a week. In the last month, she’s hopped from hotel to hotel as an evacuee. Hurricane Laura damaged her apartment in Lake Charles.

"[The landlord] tore the walls out of our apartment building and made us get everything out so they could tear the rest down. We had a foot and a half of water inside and the sewage busted.”

Taylor says FEMA gave her $5,000 for assistance.

"The money is not going to last forever and I lost clothing, house hold items and stuff in Lake Charles that I have to replace with that FEMA money. So I just can't keep paying for a room,” Taylor said.

Taylor also reached out to Red Cross for further assistance. She says her status there has her dwelling as minor damage, meaning it's safe for her to go home.

"The computers aren't matching up with FEMA and the Red Cross,” Taylor said.

Red Cross sent WBRZ a statement on this issue:

Those being moved home are residents of properties classified as “minor/affected.” If the address they gave the Red Cross or DCFS was assessed as “minor/affected,” they are being told it’s time to go home. They have been asked to confirm their addresses through multiple communications, and if there is an error to speak with the Red Cross. If they return and find they have more damage than their initial assessment revealed, they can request a reassessment. If a reassessment can’t be accomplished immediately, they can go to the Alexandria Mega Shelter while awaiting their reassessment. If the reassessment is upgraded to “major/destroyed,” they will be processed again into non-congregate (hotel) sheltering. If the reassessment doesn’t change their “minor/affected” status, case managers will work with them on their options.

Recently we learned that HUD had condemned some of its properties in Calcasieu and other parishes. If any of the residents come from a HUD facility, we are treating those as “major/destroyed.”

Taylor is hoping this will help her situation. She can't wait for the day she can go home.

"I need a home. I need a residence,” she said.

Evacuees in New Orleans received letters stating they needed to leave their hotel and return home. Red Cross says they are not kicking anyone out instead letting homeowners know it is safe for them to return to Lake Charles, and they will assist with that.

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