Storm victims without insurance running out of options
HARRISBURG, Ill. — It's hard to see, much less understand: the home you've worked for all your life is in ruins. Some homeowners in Harrisburg said it seems they have nowhere to turn.
Unfortunately, many did not have insurance. They thought federal money would be available to help them rebuild. While other resources may be out there to get them in more permanent housing, many said they're not willing to leave their homes.
"It's just so hard," said Jack Fulkerson.
It doesn't take much to tell Jack Fulkerson's mobile home took a beating in the twister. The storm shifted the whole structure, moving it away from the porch.
"I've jacked up three corners of it," said Fulkerson.
Fulkerson said it's safe.
"The state came and condemned it. The fire chief looked at it and uncondemned it because I was living in it," said Fulkerson.
He said he's not going anywhere, despite being referred to the county's public housing office.
"It's not like we have multiple apartments available for them," said Vickie Milstead, executive director of the Saline County Housing Authority.
Milstead said they may not have room for storm victims anyway.
Of the more than 500 public housing units in the county, only nine are open. They've already been offered.
"At least 99 percent occupied. That's the issue," said Milstead.
Fulkerson said public housing is not for him and he's not leaving.
"I just don't want to move anywhere else. They'd have to make me move," said Fulkerson.
But to stay in his home long-term, he will have to make some repairs. And with no insurance and a fixed income, he's not sure how that will happen.
"I just don't know," he said.
Volunteers helped him patch his roof. Fulkerson said many in his neighborhood are in the same boat as him, without insurance.
The public housing director said any storm victims would move quickly up a waiting list for housing because they were displaced by a natural disaster.
The Saline County Housing Authority is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m, Monday through Friday. They're located at the intersection of Barnett Street and Feazel Street in Harrisburg, Illinois.