BROOKVILLE, Fla. — As the death toll from Hurricane Ida and its remnants continues to climb, thousands of people forced to evacuate their homes in Louisiana are now looking for new places to live.
Ann Martin is among them.
What You Need To Know
- Ann Martin was forced to evacuate her home in Louisiana
- Hurricane Ida destroyed it
- She's struggling to find affordable housing in Brooksville
- Related Coverage | Biden tours Hurricane Ida damage in Louisiana: 'We're going to have your back'
“It’s the place I grew up in. For 55 years, I lived there,” Martin said, looking at the damage the storm has done
She told Spectrum Bay News 9 that her mobile home is now in pieces.
“What do I do now? I have grandkids that live there,” she said, while fighting back tears.
Ida headed straight for her hometown of Cut-Off, Louisiana, which is about 65 miles south of New Orleans.
“I grabbed a change of clothes," she said, "One outfit change because I’m thinking it’s probably going to be bad, but I’ll be able to come back home. So I grabbed one outfit change.”
For 55 years, Martin says she braved storm after storm that hit her beloved state of Louisiana — until Ida came along.
“It’s heartbreaking ... my loveseat is hanging in a tree. I had a sofa, loveseat, my house is furnished, and now I have nothing,” Martin said.
Now, she has no choice but to relocate to Brooksville, with her sister and her family, not knowing if or how long it will take for her bayou to recover.
Her daughter drove back to the area on Wednesday to see the damage herself.
“My daughter said herself, 'Mama, it’s not the same place as when you left.'”
Hardship back home and now another here while finding a place to stay on a fixed income. Martin said she has called the Hernando Housing Authority and this is the message she hears before even being able to speak to a representative.
[[Automated message]] “Thank you for calling … the Section 8 waiting list is closed. We do not anticipate an opening within the next 12 months.”
Martin said finding housing anywhere in the Bay area right now is nearly impossible.
“I’ll settle for a camper — a roof and a bed to sleep in, a bathroom."
But she says even that is tough to find.
Like for many low-income people in Hernando County, it’s a waiting game until funds from the housing authority or FEMA can come in to assist — so now she waits with her loved ones close by and tries not to watch what her city is becoming.