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‘Like a purgatory.’ Manville residents impacted by Ida outraged by lack of federal funding

The state put a pause on moving forward with interior repairs for a year and a half.

Naomi Yané

Jan 26, 2024, 3:23 AM

Updated 145 days ago

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Many Manville residents say they are frustrated with the state's decision to pull funding for home elevation for homes at risk of flooding.
“It’s almost like a purgatory. That’s the best way to describe it,” says homeowner Bob Simpson.
Simpson describes what the last two and a half years have felt like for him living in a hotel room since Hurricane Ida.
Simpson says he’s had to dip into his savings. He’s had medical issues and his wife Debbie died in their hotel room and now funding for him to repair his home has been pulled. Simpson took News 12 on a tour of what his house currently looks like inside. It has been completely gutted.
Simpson showed News 12 crews water lines and the bay window where his wife sat waiting to be rescued.
“This is where we ended up, she sat here until we got rescued and we were sitting in the water for a while and they had to rescue us through the front door,” Simpson says.
The home sits in the part of town, known as the Lost Valley which has been deemed high-risk. The only way for people to stay in this part of town is to elevate their homes. While Simpson waited for federal funding insurance to help with his home elevation, the state put a pause on moving forward with interior repairs for a year and a half.
“They had said you can not begin work on the house if you have applied for the HARP funds. Suddenly we all received a notice one Friday afternoon that Manville was no longer eligible to receive any funds from federal or state,” Simpson says.
He says he was blindsided by the state and felt abandoned by FEMA. Now Simpson, like other Manville residents, faces the option of a buyout or continue to dry out his savings to finish his already elevated home.
“It was a slow progressive abandonment and I would just like for once to not be abandoned and cut off at the pass and told by the way, you waited a year and a half for nothing and we’re sorry about that,” Simpson says.
Simpson has lived in Manville for 28 years. He says he wants to stay here like many of his neighbors. But that critical funding is the last piece of the puzzle for him to finally go home.


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