LaPlace family struggles to navigate FEMA system after Isaac destroys their home
POSTED: Monday, September 10, 2012 - 8:30pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 4:24pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — A LaPlace family, who lost everything to Hurricane Isaac is now in a battle to navigate the complex FEMA system.
The LaPlace house that Dawnita Michael shared with her elderly parents, sister and their five kids is now a total loss after flood waters from Isaac destroyed much of what was in their home.
"I have to start my life all over. You know I have to figure out about school clothes, I have to figure out about a vehicle. I have to figure out about a roof over my head," Dawnita Michael explained.
But the heartache doesn't stop there for Michael and her family, after applying for FEMA aid, they've been told they're out of luck.
"They have been denying us for everything. They've been denying us for shelter, they've been denying us for personal property funding. They denied us for medical," Michael added, "they told us also to go try and get disaster food stamps. Disaster food stamps can't put clothes on my back, disaster food stamps can't put a roof over my head."
A spokesperson for FEMA told NBC33 that he can't speak to Michael's specific case, but explained that one of the reasons someone could be denied is because there can “…only be one head of household per address.” Michael has said not even her mother has received the help she needs yet, despite being listed as the head of the household.
"They denied us flat out. And when my mom started fighting, asking them, 'what can I do to get this straight?’ They said 'we have to figure out first who the personal property belongs to.' They're giving us all kinds of run around, but our funds are running out," Michael explained.
She is now reaching out to other non-profit agencies, but the clock is ticking, and she's worried help won't come soon enough.
"We know we pay taxes just as well as anybody else around here. And it's devastating because there's nothing we can do about it, except pray to god that tomorrow we'll have a roof over our head. Or tomorrow we'll have food to feed our children," Michael added.
Check out our hurricane guide here for more information on what to do before, during and after a storm: