Family searches for more assistance after FEMA’s help


SAVANNAH, Ga. – One Savannah family received federal assistance nearly eight months after Hurricane Matthew forced a tree through their home. Two months ago News 3 brought you the story of the Stafford family.

They’ve lived in their home for 30 years and it’s paid off until it was damaged from the storm.

Since then they’ve reached out to FEMA, but the help still doesn’t come close to covering the cost of the damage.

“What FEMA gave us–we appreciate the assistance–but it wasn’t enough to do anything but perhaps move again because we do have to move,” Rhonda Stafford, the homeowner, said.

A tree is still in the kitchen and the roof falling apart. The home is in the same condition it’s been in since October.

“We’re just reaching out to try to get as much assistance as we can to see if we can actually buy another home that’s within reason or repair the one that we have,” Stafford said.

The Stafford’s finally received money from FEMA, but it won’t cover that repair cost. Rhonda said it’ll cost $24,000 more than what the home is worth to fix.

According to the Stafford’s, inspectors said the repairs total $110,000 and FEMA only gave them $15,000 to help.

“I understand that FEMA is only assistance, but we was looking for a little bit more,” Stafford said. “They did not tell us how it was estimated. They sent out an inspector, that’s what you call him. Mr. Martin Williams came out. When he did the inspection he just said that the person who did it the first time had the measurements and everything off.”

The tree fell on their house, but it’s not actually on their property. So, they reached out to the property owner through a lawyer to help with the cost.

“We’re looking for Mr. Canady who owns this property behind us to come forward and offer something for the house,” Stafford said. “He hasn’t done anything. He said it’s an act of nature.”

The property owner sent them a letter saying the amount they’re asking for is too much and he won’t pay for anything that was an act of God, which has left the family to reach for more help.

“We had a plan,” Stafford said. “It was already paid off. We just had the utilities to worry about, which were not a problem and with the amount of repairs we need we could get those done. We’re just hoping and praying.”

If you would like to help the Stafford family, or have any suggestions for them, they can be reached at 912-228-0413.

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