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One year after Hurricane Ida, many storm victims are still homeless

homeless Ida
Posted at 9:26 AM, Aug 26, 2022

DULAC, La. — One year after Hurricane Ida slammed into the tiny town of Dulac, Louisiana, longtime resident Penny Verdin is still homeless and living in a mobile home provided by FEMA. The single mother of two is unsure when exactly she'll be able to rebuild her destroyed home.

"Every single day you see the scars of what Hurricane Ida did," Verdin said.

The Category 4 hurricane caused $65 billion in damage nationwide, killing 155 people. For those impacted by the storm, scars still remain a year later.

"I thought I would be able to be in my house by now, but I’m not even close," Verdin added about the rebuilding process.

The emergency of those early days has subsided and so have donations. What storm victims say they need now are building materials.

"We don’t need food or water, it’s building materials and the manpower to put our houses up," Verdin noted.

The damage across this town of 798 is still visible on most street corners. Father Antonio of Farrugia of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Dulac says residents' patience is starting to wear thin.

"We are trying to rebuild the spiritual life of people," he said.

And then, there’s the waiting. Father Farrugia believes it could be two to three years before they get enough funding from FEMA to rebuild his church.

"The most stressful thing for us is waiting for the bureaucratical things to go through," he added.

That’s not to say they aren’t moving forward here. So far, this church has helped rebuild six homes for parishioners with another half-dozen on the way.

"The next crisis is the FEMA trailers. They are slowly being plucked away and people need to find housing after that," he said.