Lake City Man Waiting for Help from FEMA
Published August 6th, 2012
LAKE CITY - It's been over a month since Tropical Storm Debby, but some homes in Lake City are still under water.
Thousands of residents have applied to the federal government for help, but the process is slow for many.
That's because there is nothing FEMA can do until they can step foot inside the house.
This is causing problems for one disabled man who lost everything inside his custom-built home.
Whitey Norris of Lake City said every morning he wakes and checks his FEMA application status, but he continues to be denied because of one reason.
"There is still water inside the house," Norris said. "It maybe six or seven months before all the water goes away."
Norris will not get any property grants from FEMA, until all the water is out of his house.
They are paying his $540 monthly rent in the meantime.
Norris said he spent more than $8,000 on medical equipment that was destroyed in the flood.
"Had to build a porch, a ramp. Had to buy a new adjustable bed. My wheelchair is in Jacksonville," Norris said. "Twenty-nine hundred dollars to repair it."
The entire neighborhood is still slowly drying out.
Norris continues to pay mortgage and insurance on his flooded home.
"It's been very difficult for him," said Willie Gee, a friend of Norris. "He tells me that he doesn't sleep at night. He has had trouble eating, he talks about it a lot and he is worried a lot."
Gee has been helping Norris through this hard time.
He said he isn't the only one helping Norris.
"I have never seen anything like it. The out pouring that came through to Whitey," said Gee.
Church groups have donated gift cards for food, his friends have been checking up on him and his family has helped as much as they can, said Norris. But now, he needs permanent help from FEMA.
"They already said they know it's gone, so why does it got to sit there another six months," Norris said.
TV 20 spoke to FEMA spokesperson Ted Stuckey who told us he can't speak about one specific case, but he can talk about the FEMA policy.
One of those policies is that a FEMA representative has to go inside the house and verify the damage before continuing the process.
Even if your house is underwater for over six months.
If you would like to help hitey Norris follow the information below:
Mike Whitey Norris
First Federal Savings Bank of Florida
PO BOX 2029 Lake City, Fl. 32056
Flood Relief Fund
For PayPal Donations
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