Gov. Holcomb writes Trump asking for federal flood assistance
ELKHART, Ind. -- In communities like Elkhart, the chance that a letter Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb just sent to President Donald Trump could mean federal flood assistance is very welcome.
“It just came in, like, the patio doors and the pipes through the wood-burning stove and a couple windows here in this room,” said Connie Kleiman, a flood victim in Elkhart. “And [the water] was here for like three days. And then when it left, it was like a muddy, stinky mess.”
Kleiman’s Elkhart home is still in shambles after February’s flood.
Her dining room, living room and kitchen filled with 18 inches of water after the Elkhart River in her backyard spilled over.
She’s one of many long-term flood victims who are still slowly rebuilding.
“We have folks that we don’t really know where they are, so might be homeless, might not. We’re not sure,” said Jennifer Tobey, the director of the Elkhart County Emergency Management Office.
Tobey said her office is working around the clock to bring more help to the county.
She said Holcomb’s letter to President Trump could be a considerable help if FEMA, and then the White House, approves it.
According to the letter, Elkhart County has qualified for ‘Individual Assistance’ and ‘Public Assistance.’
“Public assistance is really more for the government agencies: police, fire, EMS, city parks, county parks, wastewater treatment plants; things that are affected that way by flooding,” Tobey said, "where individual assistance is going to be a pot of money that helps those individual homes that are affected, whether they have insurance or not.”
Flood debris still lines some streets in Elkhart.
And in homes like Kleiman’s, the road to recovery is long and the chance for more assistance is welcome.
“It’s wonderful because I know a lot of people didn’t have flood insurance and there’s no way to get everything taken care of. It’s very expensive," she said.
In the city of Elkhart, residents have one more chance to get any remaining flood debris collected by the city.
You have to have everything out on your curb by 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 3.
Tobey said between the cities of Elkhart and Goshen, about 700 tons of flood debris has already been collected.
If you’re in need of flood-related help or information, you can contact Jennifer Tobey at 574-891-2238 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.