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Neighbors in Town and Country running out of options

Posted at 7:46 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 23:14:26-04

SAND SPRINGS, OK (KJRH) — Neighbors in Sand Springs' Town and Country neighborhood are looking for anywhere to turn, as many don't know how they’re going to be able to make necessary repairs to their homes.

Initially, David Renfrow’s home was listed as having substantial damage, even though it was is in the 500-year floodplain.

According to FEMA's website, a house's level of damage is based on its value before the disaster. If the cost to repair the house is more than half of what it was worth before the disaster, the house is considered substantially damaged.

"You have to bring everything up to the recent codes," Renfrow said, "so you can rebuild, it’s just astronomical what it costs you.”

After an appeal, Renfrow was able to get below that 50% mark. But for several homes in the 100-year floodplain, being up to code means raising their homes.

"They’re looking to lift them 6 to 8 feet in the air," Renfrow said, "and the estimates are running anywhere from $90-$150 thousand to lift the house.”

Jeremy Herrington says that price tag is leading many people who own their homes to pack up and leave.

"I have neighbors across the street who just said they’re not coming back," Herrington said. "And honestly I can’t blame them.”

However, not everyone has the choice of leaving, even if they have substantial damage.

"There’s a lot of people in here that have loans, where they’re still paying that monthly payment," Renfrow said. "They could wait on a buyout, but they’re making those payments until the buyout comes.”

Officials say will still be two years before FEMA even decides if they will buy out homes. Until then, those people will have to rely on loans and reimbursements to try to rebuild their houses and move back in.

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