Welfare checks in Virginia Beach part of Hurricane Matthew relief efforts

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Officers went door-to-door Sunday in neighborhoods that were severely affected by Hurricane Matthew.

“They’ve always tried to help us,” says George Ganter, who has lived on Parkway Court for 46 years. He says he’s never seen flooding like what we saw last weekend.

“I had to take everything, tear everything off the floors and walls had to be cut so far,” says Ganter. He and his wife are temporarily living with their neighbor, who says he was disappointed in the city’s response to the storm.

“In the first 72 hours, not a single fire person, police department, national guard, nobody came door-to-door checking on people,” says David Ranzette, who also lives on Parkway Court.

On Sunday afternoon, first responders were walking up and down the streets checking in on people as they cleaned.

“It’s very devastating, you know? Looking at people that are wheelchair bound that can’t get around. Their cars have been totaled, their houses have been totaled and they have no idea what they’re going to do,” says Master Police Officer Jennifer Hunter.

These welfare checks are part of the city’s efforts to help the 1100 homes and apartment complexes that were affected by the hurricane.

“We have covered 100% of the neighborhoods in our city, just for wellness checks to make sure people are safe and they have the resources they need,” says Virginia Beach Fire Chief Steve Cover.

Along with the cleanup comes a cost. The city says they estimate the total amount of damage to individual homes is $17 million. Now, they are waiting to hear if they will reach the threshold for federal relief money.

“We know that the public assistance number will probably be reached,” says Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen.

Hansen also said the storm taught them a lot. Now, their focus has shifted from recovery to rebuilding as people continue to lean on each other.