33 residents still displaced; nine homes destroyed
December 17, 2020
As of Tuesday, 14 residents were registered to spend the night in Red Cross-provided housing, down from 101 early last week. Interim borough manager Alekka Fullerton said a total of nine homes have been categorized as destroyed, four homes have sustained major damage, and 20 residents are unable to access their homes as a result of last week’s flooding and landslides. Thirty-three residents remain displaced.
Late last week six Red Cross workers began conducting disaster assessment surveys that will help individual financial relief.
“We look at properties that are damaged, decide if it’s major or minor damage or if it’s completely destroyed,” said Red Cross spokesperson Josh Howes. “That’s what is used to start working on case work for individuals. Hopefully the Red Cross can start helping out financially with those folks as well. All of that is done in conjunction with the emergency operations center in Haines.”
All four of Janice and Leonard Dubber’s rental units behind Moose Horn Laundry, two trailers and two small homes, were badly damaged and four families have been displaced.
“We have to wait until spring to demolish,” Janice Dubber said. “They’re not livable. We’ll let them dry out. Meanwhile, I’m sure there will be a lot of paperwork. We’ll deal with it in the spring when the weather’s better.”
Betty Reyes and her boyfriend lived in one of those trailers. She has moved to an available trailer on Fourth Avenue, but it’s got a leaky roof and a toilet and a bathroom sink that’s caving in. “We have a roof over our head but it’s not the best right now. I wasn’t quite ready to go back over there but since we have to move, we don’t have much choice.”
Reyes said she’s been working and hasn’t had time to register with the Red Cross.
“I felt like there were so many other people that had problems and I just haven’t had a chance to do it yet,” Reyes said.
Roughly 20 Beach Road residents are unable to access their homes as the road south of the slide has been deemed a mandatory evacuation area, and have been told it’s possible they won’t be able to go home until summer. Steve Villano is staying in an apartment. He said he’s unsure where he and his wife Amy Mae will live long-term. “It’s not like we can afford to rent an apartment on top of owning a house,” Villano said.
In the short term, they’re living a day at a time. “We’re grateful for a warm, safe place to live, three hot meals a day from the (American) Legion, donated clothes, soap and the outpouring of love and support from the community,” Mae said.