Surviving a Flood

December 9, 2015


Karen.HattieTears and hugs were common as Miss Hattie — a widow of just one year and a cancer survivor — shared her story with those who paused to listen. She had nothing but thanksgiving and gratitude to God that she wasn’t at home when the floodwaters rose. 

Hattie was staying with a friend and caregiver the night of the flood. She had recently undergone surgery and was recovering in her friend’s home. She had considered going back to her own home that night — but while praying, she had the strong impression that she was not to do so.  As a result, she was spared from the traumatic and potentially life-threatening experience that followed. Her home, however, sustained major damage.

Not long after Hattie prayed for help, Hope Force teams had the “terrible privilege" of comforting Miss Hattie as she faced the realization that she had not only lost everything inside her home, but the home itself was now in extreme jeopardy. 

Although Miss Hattie was an insured homeowner, she did not have flood coverage — something very common among the elderly struggling on a fixed, low income. She took a calculated risk, never anticipating that she would be devastated by a 1,000-year flood. As a consequence, she did not be receive financial assistance from her insurance provider. Miss Hattie did receive $10,000 from FEMA to aid in the daunting task of recovery. While being grateful, there remained a desperate need for additional resources in the pursuit of being restored to pre-flood conditions. Miss Hattie is resolute in her trust in God and prays continually for His intervention on her behalf. 


Screen Shot 2015 12 09 at 4.46.30 PM 2Our teams initial relief efforts included removing the contents of Hattie’s home, as well as carpet, paneling, insulation and part of the flooring to allow the underside of her home to dry. Moldicide was applied to prevent mold from consuming the house. These flood remediation efforts help to prevent further deterioration of the home and also reduce the cost of recovery as a result of donated labor. 


Hope Force International (HFI) recruited volunteer labor in an effort to radically reduce the cost of rebuilding Miss Hattie’s home. Interior walls damaged by the flood needed to be rebuilt; drywall and insulation replaced. The kitchen and bathroom of the home need to be restored, and electrical and plumbing needs addressed. 

The HVAC system is being addressed by first replacing a few parts to see if it will start up before exploring the option of full replacement. 


In order to make Miss Hattie’s home more “user friendly” for her as she gets older, we’ve made a few structural changes as we put her home back together. We moved a few walls to increase the size of her bathroom and laundry room, and we increased her storage space and updated all the plumbing. An electrician is coming this week to address electrical needs, and once he’s finished we’ll move forward with hanging the remainder of the drywall. 

Miss Hattie seems to be doing well, and is very excited about getting back into her house and regaining normalcy, which includes her love of cooking for others. Once completed, Miss Hattie’s home will be restored beyond pre-flood conditions.

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