Virginia Beach city manager briefs city council on issues after Matthew

Posted at 10:12 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-19 10:09:58-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - People living in Virginia Beach are still recovering from what Hurricane Matthew left behind. Tuesday, city council was briefed on what's been done so far and what's next.

City Manager Dave Hansen explained how houses that have been gutted of flooring and drywall cut out one foot above where flood waters reached are considered minor damage, even if it may not look it. In Virginia Beach 957 homes are on that list. More than 100 homes have major damage and eight homes were destroyed.

One of the homes with damage of this sort belongs to Bonnie Jenks, a resident on S Plaza Trl. She said at the height of the storm she had 15 inches of water in her house and now the entire home has to be gutted and remodeled. Very little could be salvaged of her belongings. She said her family and so many others need help.

Hansen has also transferred $100,000 to create housing vouchers to help people who can't stay at home and are struggling to find a place to stay.

For residents like Jessica Sawyer that's not enough. Though she has insurance she cannot get money up front for necessary costs, never mind a hotel expense. Trying to be resourceful, Sawyer has parked a camper in her front yard. That way she and her boyfriend can monitor the repairs at the house, save money from being spent on a hotel, and put more of their insurance money towards the recovery.

Clean-up crews are in demand as many homes need mucking and gutting, which is the removal of flooring. The city has collected 1,855 tons of debris from yards.

Councilwoman Shannon Kane spoke with emotion about her district, which includes Windsor Woods, one of the hardest hit areas.

"I know I've been screaming for two and a half years since I've been here that we need to do something about the flooding. My concern is these residents needed us and it took us six days to get there to help them," said Kane.

To date, the city of Virginia Beach has spent more than $3.5 million dollars on recovering. Once all is said and done, the city will have spent close to $9 million.