Residents frustrated over flooding assistance


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Along with the piles of ruined belongings along Rugby Road in Virginia Beach, you’ll find some residents still preparing for Halloween — despite storm damage.

“It came from frustration of trying to find out where we can get help,” said Joyce Bennison, who has lived at her home near Salem High School for 15 years.

Last weekend during Hurricane Matthew, Bennison says her neighborhood flooded and she got five inches of water inside her home. Over the phone, she expressed her frustration with getting assistance from FEMA and insurance companies.

“This year, we’re not doing anything. You know, we usually have tons of decorations out, tons coming up to the house. This year, we don’t have time for it with getting the house fixed up,” she said.

According to the City of Virginia Beach, 1,400 homes reported some type of storm damage.

Mark Davis, with the City’s Communications Office, said FEMA reported eight of those homes were destroyed and 103 suffered major damage.

Davis said in total, 2,000 reported damage throughout the whole Hampton Roads area.

This weekend, hundreds of those affected in the Windsor Woods community were able to report storm damage at the Bow Creek Recreation Center. Davis said 400 people were served and 100 residents received hotel vouchers.

Melvin Welch, with the Salvation Army, says they served 100 free meals on Sunday and expected the same turnout Monday.

Davis said the city does not know how long the center will be open, but it’s important for residents to report damage to the city in hopes of getting FEMA assistance.

Officials are hoping to get all the damage reports analyzed quickly so Governor Terry McAuliffe can submit the information to the federal government by Wednesday, and help those like Bennison get the help they’ve been looking for.

“We’re on our own. Everything is coming out of pocket right now,” Bennison said about cleaning up.

The city said they’re looking for volunteers to clean and gut 200 homes.

The project is being run by Operation Blessing. Church groups, businesses, and civic leagues are welcome. To volunteer, call 757-284-9183. To report storm damage, call 311 or 757-385-3111.

How to volunteer to help Hampton Roads flooding victims