Flood victims are finding that federal aid isn't enough

Posted at 10:03 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 23:03:35-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Victims of flooding in Humphreys and Dickson counties are learning federal assistance won't be enough to rebuild their homes.

Flood waters rose well above flood zones along Trace Creek in many areas, damaging countless homes on the morning of August 21.

People without flood insurance are turning to FEMA for help rebuilding their homes or relocating. The only problem is FEMA will only reimburse a portion of the damage to homes, even if the person has to no insurance.

It happened to Judy and Russell Simpson, who live on Carroll Avenue in Waverly.

"A little over $15,000. That's what they gave to put the house back together," said Judy outside her home. "It's overwhelming. We've lived here 51 years and this is the first time water has ever gotten in our house."

The husband and wife had to climb into their attic with their three cats and two dogs to escape the flood waters. Eventually they were rescued by boat.

Now, they're looking for financial rescue.

"Since COVID hit, lumber prices and stuff has gone up. It's not enough to put a house back together," said Carla Klem, the pair's daughter.

Simpson was told by FEMA she could obtain a SBA loan. However, Judy is nearly 75 and Russell is 79. The loan they were offered is a 30 year loan. They're not ready to pick up a loan like that at their age.

"We can't afford to go buy more land and start building another house. Start house payments all over again," said Simpson.

Klem has been looking for additional money through every avenue she could find. However, it's not looking good and the family isn't sure where they'll get the money to rebuild.

"Everybody is scared. Our kids are scared. It's emotional for everybody," said Klem.