Family in Verona Still Unable to Move Back into Home after Devastating Storm
VERONA, Va. (WVIR) - A family in the Shenandoah Valley has a home they can't live in because a storm ripped through their house and caused massive damage.
But that storm happened a year ago, and the homeowner's insurance the family carried will not pay.
“We still are no closer in to fixing this than we were the day that it happened,” Ann Young, the homeowner, said.
When the storm raged through Verona in May 2018, the Young family’s house buckled.
“You could actually hear it just flexing and cracking,” Bob Young, Ann’s husband, said.
The basement wall caved in, leaving a gaping hole the length of the house.
“I try to come up here and mow and then get outta here ’cause it's just - it's just too many memories,” Ann said.
Immediately after the storm, Ann says a lot of tough decisions had to be made.
Ann and Bob, their foster son, Ann’s son, and two grandchildren all split up to stay with various family members. With the help of community support, they moved into a motel while looking for a rental house.
“Those resources and that money went very fast,” Ann said.
Six weeks after the storm, the Youngs could finally step foot back into their house. They got almost everything out upstairs, but in the basement they had lost it all.
“Pool table, a bar, our furniture, a TV, my son's clothing,” Ann said.
A home once valued at $179,000 is now worth $10,000.
“Getting that piece of paper in the mail and seeing from where we were at to where it went to was sickening,” Ann said.
The family continues to pay taxes, as well as insurance and the mortgage.
“We owe them money,” Ann said. “It doesn't make a difference in what condition the house is in or if we're able to live in it.”
The homeowner's insurance says it doesn't cover this type of flood damage, and Ann says she couldn't get flood insurance because of the elevation of the house.
“The tricky part with their situation is that because it affected such a small number of people in the county, it didn't qualify for federal disaster assistance,” Rebecca Joyce, the senior planner of Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, said.
Joyce works with people who've been through disasters.
“There's just not a lot of help out there,” Joyce said. “What's happened to them with this severe weather incident could happen to anybody.”
Joyce says there needs to be a coordinated local effort to help people like the Youngs who experience a disaster.
“They're such brave, resilient people,” Joyce said. “They've never given up when they've had a lot of doors shut in their face and frustration. They just want to be back in their home.”
“This is where we wanna come,” Ann said. “And this is where we wanna come back to, but I don't know if that's gonna be possible.”
In March, the Youngs filed a lawsuit in Augusta Circuit Court against their insurance company.