Hundreds pack into Slidell meeting in search of home elevation funds

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 23 at 6:10 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

SLIDELL, La. -- More federal dollars are heading to St. Tammany Parish to offset the cost of elevating flood-prone homes.

Hundreds were packed inside the Slidell Municipal Auditorium to learn more Monday night. City officials are warning residents not everyone will see that money.

"Within hours that lake went up, over the dock, and came right in and you could have driven a boat through the house," said Rob Piper.

Shortly after the wind shifted during Hurricane Isaac last August, the waist-deep water followed, filling Piper's Slidell home.

"Pretty soon we were ankle deep. Come downstairs again we're knee deep. That's when you're hoping everything stops, but then it just kept going," said Piper of how quickly the water took over.

The Slidell family has been waiting almost six years to get their home elevated. Floodwater has damaged their belongings four different times. The wait is finally over, and elevation crews are showing up to their house in the next week or two.

Slidell resident Joan Johnson is hoping for the same luck.

"It's taken its toll, trust me. Every time it rains I'm concerned," said Johnson, who points out that since 1995 her St. Tammany home has flooded many times.

"It's been downhill ever since and it's hard to keep regrouping. The insurance companies aren't very cooperative," said Johnson, who joined hundreds on Monday night to learn more about $1.5 million in federal money earmarked to help raise homes.

"We want every home that we possibly can get elevated, elevated. The problem it costs about $200,000 to raise a home," said Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan.

The city of Slidell confirms it sent out more than 1,000 letters to businesses and homeowners that live in flood-prone communities letting them know they're eligible for the grant money.

As the Piper family waits for their home to be lifted, they wish the same for more of their neighbors.

"Most of the people in this neighborhood have really been waiting for a long time -- longer then me. I hope they can get it straightened out so they can get these houses up," said Piper.

The city of Slidell says the deadline for residents to apply for this new federal flood mitigation grant money is Aug. 22. Brennan said more money is expected to come down from the state, but there's no word yet on how much that will be.

For more information on the program contact Monica Martin with Providence Technical Services at: (225) 766-7400 or e-mail: Monicamartin@providenceeng.Com

 

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