VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The struggle continues for residents of the Waypoint at Lynnhaven apartments after flooding from Hurricane Matthew caused many to evacuate — and led crews to find asbestos.
The apartment company originally told residents they had to get their belongings out by 5 p.m. on Monday, but that deadline was pushed to 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Some of the residents have been able to find new places to live. Others still don’t know where they will go when the apartment company stops paying for their hotel rooms come November 2.
“Helpless. Helpless. I just want my stuff,” said Danette Valentine.
Valentine is one of many who cannot get back into her apartment because of the asbestos inside. She doesn’t know what she will do next.
“We’re on our own. I mean it was up to the 30th and we got an email stating they extended it for two days. Two days? Okay. So we’re on our own after that,” she said.
Valentine visited the recovery center at Holy Apostles Church on Lynnhaven Parkway on Wednesday. She worked with the volunteers to try to find a new place for her and her family. But she says none of the options were working because of cost.
“We’re homeless,” Valentine said. “You have over 200 people or more homeless.”
For some, the recovery center was able to help them find new housing.
“To me it’s a great help. It’s a blessing because November 1, we were going to be homeless. We had no place to go,” said Zana Paulson, who also lived at Waypoint. “I’m so happy now that I do have a place to live, my children do have a place to live. And I can’t really put a dollar sign on that, because it means that I’m not going to be homeless. I’m not going to be on the street.”
Paulson lived in an apartment that didn’t have asbestos, so she was able to sign a waiver to get her belongings. She says she knows the risk, but her family’s keepsakes are worth it.
And as people came for help, the community came to help.
“We just wanted to, you know, let them know that we’re supporting them even though we’re not in the same city that they’re in,” said Lashuna Spence, who collected items from a youth football program’s volunteers. Spence traveled from Chesapeake to donate jeans, shoes, coats and baby items.
She said, “You never know when you might be on the other side.”
The other side that’s sticking together.
“We’re all basically one big family in an unhappy situation,” said Valentine.
The recovery center will be open again on Thursday, October 27 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.