Author Topic: Suggestions for loss due to flood  (Read 4352 times)

cj25

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Suggestions for loss due to flood
« on: April 19, 2016, 09:22:42 AM »
My sister lost her downstairs furniture, anything on the floor in her garage and her car (a less than 2 yr old Accord) yesterday in the Houston Flooding.  She is renting, so the house & major appliances aren't her problem to fix.  She has no savings and is a single mom with two kids and no child support.  Her credit is awful because shortly after she left her husband he got fired from his job and stopped paying the mortgage.  Does anyone have any creative ideas on getting furniture & another car?  Obviously buying used at this point could be bad because they will probably all be flooded cars.  Hopefully her auto insurance will total the car and she can pay off the lease with that money, but with no savings and poor credit, I don't know how she will get another one (she was paying $220 a month).  She may need to find another place to rent because of the damage and I have no idea how hard that will with her recently messed up credit.   Hoping maybe someone here has some creative suggestions or things we may not be thinking of.

ysette9

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2016, 09:25:38 AM »
I am sorry to hear about her difficult situation. I don't have any similar experience so I can't really offer advice, but could you look into charity options for her? Perhaps there are city/county services for poor people impacted by natural disasters. Perhaps there are churches or other community groups who will give supplies or other assistance to those in need?

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2016, 09:28:10 AM »
Hopefully she has some renters insurance? Not all policies cover flood losses but if she has a policy and it covers it, then perhaps she should file a claim.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2016, 09:40:52 AM »
There's a good chance she'll need to (or want to) move out anyways if the first floor of the house needs substantial remediation. I assume there's no way for her to then move to someplace on a bus route where she can go without a car for a bit?

AZDude

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2016, 09:44:34 AM »
Any family in the area that can help her out for a couple months until she can buy a new vehicle? That is probably the best suggestion. Or have a family member co-sign for an apt and vehicle, but only you are going to know if that is good idea.

slugline

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2016, 09:56:04 AM »
I wouldn't be any more concerned than usual about flood-damaged cars on the market. Keep in mind that the city incurred a huge flooding event just last Memorial Day. Depending on what part of the metro area she lives/works in, public transit could be a viable option too. It sounds like she likely needs to move anyway.

cj25

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2016, 10:05:55 AM »
No renters insurance, but unless you add flood coverage through FEMA, they wouldn't pay out anyway.  She has no one in the area except for deadbeat waste of a husband she left a year ago.  I don't think anyone would be willing to cosign because she's just too risky.  I feel so bad even saying that.  She already commutes at least an hour to work each way, so I am not sure a bus could even be an option.  Sucks how everything can just get totally screwed so quick.

I am going to have to her look into assistance from FEMA since it was declared a disaster.  And perhaps the Red Cross since she is a veteran but she's horrible about actually doing anything and following through. 

Cosmos

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2016, 11:10:10 AM »
I went through recovering from water/flood damage from putting out a fire. One of my takeaways from that experience is that sometimes the damage to household goods is not as bad as you think. Go through everything before it's thrown out. If it can fit in a washing machine or a sink, it can often be cleaned (may take multiple washes to get smells out). Furniture is probably all a lost cause, but a surprising number of other things can be salvaged.

In addition to the previous suggestion of churches, there may be non-religious organizations in the area geared to helping single parents. Does she have any social services support, like a case worker helping her collect child support? If she does, that person would be a good resource. They tend to know all the services in the area and may be able to put her in touch with groups that can help her replace items.

The only other thing I can think of is to check for freecycle groups for her area (and yours, if you are near enough to bring things to her). If there is one, it'll have a forum or yahoo group where members can offer and ask for items for free.

cj25

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2016, 11:20:16 AM »
She doesn't get social services or child support.  I'll suggest the freecycle thing. 

Her landlord won't even respond to her calls or texts to deal with the house. So we're also trying to figure out how to deal with the odors and damage and mold in the house.

I am in CA and she's in Houston, so we can't do much or she's be moving in with me.

Another reason I am chicken to move away from family and friends.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2016, 11:21:58 AM »
I think she should look into breaking the lease and moving closer to work. There are lots of new apartment buildings going up near downtown in anticipation of people that didn't move to Houston when the price of oil dropped, and the rent incentives are on their way.

Noodle

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2016, 11:30:53 AM »
Houston floods all the time, so social service providers are very experienced in managing these kinds of situations. If your sister has a community through church, work or another group, I would start by letting them know that she needs help. I have found people to be very generous about helping each other in crisis situations.

If she doesn't know many people here, the city recovery website is suggesting that people in need start with a call to the United Way Helpline https://www.unitedwayhouston.org/our-211-helpline/--the Red Cross would probably also be helpful.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2016, 12:19:38 PM »
And perhaps the Red Cross since she is a veteran but she's horrible about actually doing anything and following through.

She needs to call every company she does business with and explain the situation. She may be able to get a break on late fees for bills or perhaps some extensions, especially if she drops the veteran card. That'll allow her some float until she finds a new place (she needs to find a new place closer to work).

Also, have her reach out to military friendly banks to see if they are willing to extend her a personal loan, despite her bad credit.

Lastly, understand that some veterans have an ingrained sense of serving others, but not letting others serve them. That's a good and bad thing. You can only do so much as a sister; at the end of the day, all you can do is do your best to support her, then the old "you can't help others more than they're willing to help themselves" adage comes into play. I hope she pulls through...very tough situation to be in and a reminder for renters reading this to keep renters insurance if they can't afford a large loss out of pocket.

SugarMountain

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2016, 01:56:06 PM »
She could look into this and similar services:
http://www.800charitycars.org/who-can-apply.html

Looks like veterans are called out as potential recipients, as are victims of natural disasters.

slugline

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2016, 02:36:40 PM »
I can't help but think that we need to see the bigger picture. Living a one-hour commute from work but not being able to afford a car makes no sense in Houston. is she stuck where she is because of a custody agreement? Are her earnings well below median wage?

Cosmos

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2016, 04:24:41 AM »
"Her landlord won't even respond to her calls or texts to deal with the house. So we're also trying to figure out how to deal with the odors and damage and mold in the house."

Ugh. That sucks. Get big fans and space heaters. Fans will help circulation, space heaters will start drying things out. The contractor from my insurance company set up a space heater  or two in each room and in the hall, and the fans in the more closed off ends of the basement to help push the humidity out.
This process sucks, it'll smell worse before it gets better.

If basement is below ground and still has water in it, you'll also need someone to come pump out the water (or check with pool suppliers and buy a pool draining pump with a hose - it's possible to rent these, but I doubt you can return it after it's drained a basement).

The general contractor and inspectors will be the ones to advise on if drywall and flooring can be salvaged. The longer it all remains wet, the more likely it is that it'll need to be stripped to the foundation and redone.

former player

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2016, 04:53:19 AM »
What are her priorities?  She needs to keep her job, the kids need to keep going to school, she needs a viable place to live and a car that works.  Anything else is irrelevant at the moment. 

The loss of upholstered furniture and any small household electronics is not a priority (any other belongings may well be recoverable: they need to be washed down and put outside in the sun to dry, then assessed.  It may not look as pretty but if it gets the job done that is good enough until your sister is back on her feet).

How deep was the flooding on the car?  If she can get it written off and then keep hold of it for nothing (she needs to ask the insurers) it might be possible to get it running again more cheaply than buying something else with an unknown history.  Again, not ideal but potentially workable.

What has happened to the marital home?  If her deadbeat husband is still in it, can she get him out and move back in?  Is there any equity if it is sold?  Getting back on her feet financially is going to be bound up with dissolving the marriage and resolving the financial issues from it.

I saw some of the pictures of the Houston flooding on the news: scary, so the good thing is that your sister and her kids are OK.

I


ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2016, 04:55:37 AM »
If basement is below ground and still has water in it, you'll also need someone to come pump out the water (or check with pool suppliers and buy a pool draining pump with a hose - it's possible to rent these, but I doubt you can return it after it's drained a basement).

Bet you $100 there's no basement. It's Houston. On normal days you can dig a hole and by the third shovelful it'll start filling with water.

Nickels Dimes Quarters

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Re: Suggestions for loss due to flood
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2016, 05:22:46 AM »
I'd contact Legal Aid or her state/county child support enforcement. If the family is going to help her, get the court orders for the ex enforced. If he's a deadbeat, his income/wages can be garnished. Some states/counties have staff to pursue these cases since it is in the government's best interest to get that money to the custodial parent.

NDQ