Under-insured families struggle to rebuild


SHAWNEE, OK – Tornado survivors are trying to rebuild their homes, but some concerns are growing as homeowners deal with the expenses of starting over. In the Twin Lakes community, homes were flattened by the May 19th tornado. They lost everything, and despite some help, they’re spending their life savings to rebuild.

“It was like. ‘Oh, what now, and how are we going to do this just us two?’,” said Jo Graham.

Graham and her husband had insurance, but, like many Oklahomans, not nearly enough. They turned to the Federal Emergency Management Association FEMA for help.

“We want them to receive every dollar in the system they are eligible to receive,” said FEMA Spokesperson Nate Custer.

Custer says FEMA is here to give the victims money for home repairs, for items insurance won’t cover; that it will even pay for apartments or motels until families rebuild.

However, the under insured couple says their FEMA representative didn’t offer an a place to stay.

“We slept right here in a tent,” said Graham.

Graham says the agency did give her $2,400 for some repairs.

“That did help don’t get me wrong,” said Graham.

But it wasn’t enough to replace the home that is now piled on the side of the road. So she and her husband spent the rest of their life savings to buy a trailer.

“It set us back the whole way, you know?” said Graham.

FEMA urges families like the Grahams who could use more assistance to call and keep representatives updated so they can work to give you the money you are eligible to receive.

The deadline to register for FEMA assistance is July 19th. If you haven’t registered by then, you won’t be able to get any assistance.