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Wake tornado victims on the move again

Posted May 6, 2011

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— Wake County on Friday moved 86 people left homeless by last month's tornado out of temporary apartments into "more sustainable housing."

The moves weren't the only sign of change three weeks after the April 16 storms that tore across North Carolina, killing 24 and causing millions of dollars in damage.

Crews tore down Holly Springs Fire Station No. 2, which sustained heavy water damage after losing its roof in the storm. The station was built in the 1970s and was renovated three years ago, and town officials said it would take at least a year to rebuild.

Meanwhile, a Hardee's in Sanford opened for the first time since the storm. The restaurant plans to donate 10 percent of its sales through next Sunday to the American Red Cross for relief efforts.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to start moving trailers Saturday to various counties to provide housing for people displaced by the storms. FEMA said more than $5 million in disaster aid has been provided to North Carolina so far, including about $2.9 million for housing.

In Raleigh, scores of people moved to the E.S. King Village complex on North Carolina State University's campus after the storm. A university spokesman said 150 people were housed there at one point, but many have since found other places to live.

The Red Cross said the 20 or so families who remained were being handled on a case-by-case basis. Some are moving into temporary homes, while others are headed to more permanent places. Federal disaster assistance, private donations and other funds are paying for the housing, officials said.

"We did not tell them where they were going. We assisted them in finding their own solution," said Josh Creighton of Wake County Emergency Management.

Christian Williams, whose house was destroyed when four trees fell on it during the storm, said she is tired of the unstable situation and wants a place to call home.

"We've been moving here, moving there. It's just been a lot of ups and downs. It's just been terrible," said Williams, who is four months pregnant.

She said the temporary housing provided at N.C. State has been nice, but the home she's supposed to move into is unlivable.

Wake tornado victims on the move again Wake tornado victims on the move again

"(It's got) mold. The floors are coming up. ... It's just broken down. The roof is coming apart," she said. "I don't want to go because it could do something to my baby."

Wake County officials said Williams is one of only two cases where housing wasn't ready by Friday for storm victims to move. They said the county provided shelter for about 1,000 people after the tornado, and they consider it a victory to have them all in temporary or permanent housing in less than three weeks.

Williams says she and the father of her baby will be moved to an extended-stay hotel while repairs are made on the apartment. Members of St. Francis Methodist Church in Cary, who have been helping Williams, also are looking for another place for her to stay.

"It's just another hurdle I've got to jump over, but I'm going to get there," she said.

Donald Freeman is also heading to an extended-stay hotel, with hopes he can move back to his home in two or three weeks.

"I'm ready to be home. I'm tired of all this moving back and forth. It's stressful," Freeman said.

He said he's been amazed by how comfortable volunteers have made his life since the storm, and he plans to volunteer with the Red Cross in the future.

"We are strangers, and these people came out of their homes and came to help out our needs and catered to us like we was kings and queens," he said.

County officials said case workers will continue to monitor the needs of storm victims as they get back on their feet.

Meanwhile, officials said they are still trying to find money to pay for the estimated $250,000 cost of clearing storm debris from unincorporated areas of the county. The cleanup should take a few weeks once the money is in hand, they said.


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  • SARCASTICLES May 6, 2011

    Tell us the name of your store, hfweather......so all those unemployed people will know not to spend any of that dirty government money they have in your establishment. If they decide to shop with you anyway, you could always go out in the parking lot and slash their tires while they are inside....that should make you feel better, at least. ;)

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 6, 2011

    gingerlynn - "There are still people freeloading in Katrina housing 6 years later."

    Because the companies they worked at have never rebuilt and they don't have the education or skills to work at other jobs.

    Then the global financial fiasco and unemployment has exacerbated that for them.

    Instead of spinning your little wheels slamming them here, why don't you do something useful by going there to help them to learn new skills so they can get a job.

    But then in this job market, they'd probably learn new skills, apply for hundreds of jobs and still be unable to get one - just like 10% of the citizens in this country are experiencing.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman May 6, 2011

    Praying for them.

    I truly do feel sorry for anyone whose shelter is in constant flux keeping them from having the security of real roots.

  • h3ardita11b4 May 6, 2011

    Is that a new number? I so have never heard of the NUMBER 75B. Not only that BUT with your poor grammar and punctuation skills, I seriously doubt you OWN anything let alone supervise anyone. I'm just saying. ;). Maybe I'm missing something here BUT what in the world does a baby daddy have anything to the TORNADO? Please let me know what church you good "christian" folks frequent. I want to make sure I stay far away from it.

  • mclangley71 May 6, 2011

    I hope this country makes it another 20 years. After reading this article and some of the comments, I believe we're well on our way to being a third world country. It makes me sad, very sad....

  • gingerlynn May 6, 2011

    computer trainer - are you serious? There are still people freeloading in Katrina housing 6 years later.

  • wyoming May 6, 2011

    airborne girl, perhaps if there was mold in an apartment they should get a different apartment. There are hundreds around Raleigh. I am helping people like these... I just mailed the government a $5000 tax bill on top of the thousands I paid in already this year. Also, if they had ambition and job skills they would have nothing to worry about. I don't see anything in the story that they were rendered handicapped by the storm.

    And yes if you can not afford rent, you can not afford a baby. NOt sure the disconnect with that statement.

  • airbornegirl16 May 6, 2011

    I had a doozy of a message for those of you who seem to have all the answers to the problems of the world, but I'll bite my tongue. Anyway, how do you know that they did not have renters insurance? Or that they are on any other kind of assistance? What does her being preganant have to do with paying rent? I didn't see anything saying that she could not afford rent in the story. What I read was that they had found somewhere but it was uninhabitable due to mold. Would you want to live in a mold infested house while pregnant? I know I wouldn't. You yell about people getting stuff together, but how about volunteering to assist them with that. We are so quick to judge and fingerpoint, but not offer solutions. Start a blog on what can be done in situations like these, but I know that as soon as I click submit, I will be torn apart by that powers that be on GOLO. Have a good one and Happy Mother's Day.

  • computer trainer May 6, 2011

    So, just what are these people waiting on? It appears that after 3 weeks, they should have made some effort on their own. From the story, it seems that other folks have found housing on their own. It appears that some folks would just rather the rest of the world DO FOR THEM, instead of doing for themselves.

  • kikinc May 6, 2011

    This is why you have insurance. It helps get you back on your feet in situations like this. Insurance is very affordable and it should be a priority. I understand a little help from the gov't, but at what point are people going to learn to help themselves? People won't learn to take care of themselves if there's always a bail out waiting for them.