'I feel hopeless' Waverly flood survivors still living in motels, RVs six months later

Bernadene Gray
Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 21, 2022

WAVERLY, Tenn. (WTVF) — In parts of Waverly, not much has changed since deadly flooding tore through the town six months ago.

Aid is starting to dry up, but the work is far from done. Debris remains around Trace Creek and littered on the side of the road.

Billy Holmes used to live in the West Brookside area. Now, it's abandoned.

"We’re still in desperate shape,” Holmes said. “Forgot about us."

After his family was rescued, they were taken to a motel. Six months later, his family is still living there.

"I feel hopeless,” Holmes said." I don’t know what to do no more, but I keep trying."

Holmes said he can't find an affordable apartment. "They said we might even have to move out of state," Holmes said.

He’s not alone. At least fourteen families who lost everything are still living in motels, according to the United Way of Humphreys County. If someone finds an apartment, the nonprofit can help with the deposit. They said the housing authority in Dickson is trying to give flood survivors priority, but there's an influx of need.

"I just really hope everybody can find a place and feel safe again," Holmes said.

On E. Main Street, Bernadene Gray was living in a storage unit until she was gifted an RV. "I have a mortgage, and I can’t afford to pay my mortgage and pay for an apartment, so we’re doing the best that we can," Gray said.

Her home has been gutted due to flood damage. She's waiting on volunteers to come help.

"You feel like you’re a packrat sometimes,” Gray said. “But it’s sad."

Holmes and Gray are grateful for all the assistance. The sad reality is, it's not enough. People in Waverly will need long-term help rebuilding their lives.

"Just don’t give up,” Holmes said. "There’s a lot of good people out there, and I can see they’re trying to help, but you can only do so much."

Like many residents in Waverly, Gray did not have flood insurance and Holmes didn't have liability insurance. Holmes said needs to buy a car but he can barely afford food.