Landslide victims frustrated with government funding

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by JESSE JONES / KING 5

Bio | Email | Follow: @getjesse

KING5.com

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 11:23 PM

Robin Youngblood never imagined a day when all her possessions would exist only on paper.
 
“Forty-two pages of inventory for my insurance company,” said Youngblood.  “It's never going to be the same.”

Youngblood is one of the few survivors from the Oso landslide.  She was home when the mountain broke loose, clearing everything in its path.

“My house was the last house actually caught in the mudslide and we were pushed a quarter of a mile onto a neighbor's property,” recalled Youngblood.  “I literally don't know how we survived.”

As Youngblood fights to rebuild, she’s finding her biggest obstacle is getting assistance from government agencies.

“Federal tells us one thing one day, we go talk to state they tell us something very different,” said Youngblood.

Robin's insurance covered some personal property but she's going to need a lot more to start over.  But she can't get answers about how money from fundraising sites like GoFundMe or in-kind gifts will impact her assistance from FEMA.

“There are no straight clear answers and I understand also that they're having lots of meetings between the state, the county, FEMA, whoever else is involved in this.  But they don't seem to know either.  So all we can do is sit here in limbo wondering what's next and how we dig ourselves out of this,” explained Youngblood.

So I went to FEMA to try and find answers and I quickly understood Youngblood’s frustration.

“I would just say that because of the uniqueness of each case, if anyone has any questions, they should either come to our disaster recovery center or call our FEMA help line so that they can speak to someone who can specifically address their own concerns,” explained Gail Haubrich with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The explanations are vague.  Haubrich explained there has been such a variety of community support that the rules aren't cut and dry.

“Their best option is to either go to the disaster recovery center or to contact FEMA so that we can talk one on one with them rather than me trying to give generalizations and them trying to lay them over their individual case,” said Haubrich.

All Robin can hope for now is that answers come quick.  She's in housing provided by the community and money is tight.   What really hits home is that she's not alone.

“I want us to all work together to be the communities that Arlington, Darrington and Oso have stepped up to be since this happened,” said Youngblood.
 

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