Tennessee disaster declaration will soon help, but only with infrastructure repairs

(Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyCam)

Federal funding will soon flow into some of our counties affected by major flooding earlier this year, but the homeowners who saw the most damage won’t see any of it.

The money on the way is not to help people on Hunter Road with damages and cleanup from the floods that damaged their homes back in February. Instead, it’s going towards repairing roads.

Danny Mahaffey says for four weeks, his home was under water.

"It was very distressing... very frustrating," says Danny.

Danny led us to the back of his Hunter Road home and showed us how high the waters got. The E.coli-contaminated water was high enough to reach right above the door to his crawl space.

In Hixson, the cracks on Lake Resort Drive are also consequences of those weeks of heavy rain.

So which one of these will see help first? The roads will.

Infrastructure repairs are getting federal dollars, and homeowners are taking a back seat for now, leading Danny to feel neglected by the government he supports with his tax dollars.

"I'm sure once the other neighbors hear about this, they're going to feel the same way," says Danny.

He says the only help he’s seen has come from local church groups who showed up to his home without being asked.

"Took all the insulation up underneath our house, took it out and now it's got to be replaced... how we're going to replace it I don't know," says Danny.

Danny says it took four weeks for him to finally see the ground on his front lawn.

You can see just how high the water rose from our NewsChannel 9 SkyCam in March.

Amy Maxwell with the Hamilton County Office of Emergency Management says this upcoming grant can only be used for very specific projects.

"Pertaining to roads utilities, bridges or any other kind of infrastructure that was damaged due to the flooding and severe storms Feb. 19th and March 30th," she says.

Maxwell says the state saw $80 million worth of damage.

"TDOT is reporting that we have over 300 locations that have to be repaired," says Maxwell. That includes Lake Resort Drive.

Where does this leave people like Danny and his neighbors off of Hunter Road? Maxwell says that grant is still being reviewed by the federal government.

"Even though we only had nine homes that showed damage, it's hard to determine whether they will be approved for individual assistance," says Maxwell.

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