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Homeowners struggle to rebuild after September floods

Michael Lopardi

Homeowners struggle to rebuild after September floods

CREATED Jan. 4, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Months after devastating floods, homeowners in the eastern part of the valley are struggling to rebuild.

"Everything here was under water," said homeowner John Weeks, who lives near Sahara and Nellis.

Weeks said several inches of water quickly filled the first floor of his home during the Sept. 11 storm. Repair work totaled roughly $30,000. But Weeks was one of the lucky ones - he had flood insurance.

"It could've been a lot worse," said Weeks. "Thank God it wasn't."

Roughly 80 properties suffered damage during the storm, but the damage did not qualify for federal assistance. The county said many people hit hardest by the storm did not have flood insurance, including homeowner Joan Nations.

"I wish you could've seen the water going down this street. It was like a river," Nations said.

Without insurance, Nations was forced to talk out a personal loan for roughly $15,000. Still, the repair work at her home is not finished. The stove is damaged beyond repair and the garage is filled with debris.

Nations wanted to know what the county can do to help homeowners without insurance. Action News took that question to the Clark County emergency management office.

"We do have some programs and ability to help some of the people," said Irene Navis, plans and operations coordinator.

Without federal assistance, the county steered qualifying businesses and homeowners towards special loans through the Small Business Administration. Homeowners who rented their properties may qualify.

For others without flood insurance, Navis said the county partnered with a non-profit called SHARE. The group may be able to donate supplies and labor. But Navis said the biggest lesson of the event was the need for insurance, even in Las Vegas.

"If you do not live in a flood zone, it's still smart to get flood insurance," Navis said. "That's a message we've been trying to get out for the last two or three months."

Nations is already concerned about the next rainfall.

"I'm scared everytime it rains because I just know, I know it's going to happen again," said Nations.

By next time, Nations said she hopes to have flood insurance so her money isn't washed away.