HAYWARD, Calif. - A family in Hayward is one of many searching for individual assistance from the government after the winter storms damaged their house two weeks ago.
Vicki Hudson, a retired Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Army, her wife Monika Poxon, and their two children Elliott and Thelma, woke up on New Year’s Eve to flooding on the bottom floor of their split-level home. Their house, built on a concrete slab, was inundated with water.
"The carpet was literally floating on top of water," Hudson said. "Over the course of the day's rain it flooded into all the rooms."
The family’s furniture, clothes, and possessions were all ruined. An insurance adjuster said the family must wait for a third party company to determine where the leak in their house is before it’s determined whether the damage will be covered. The family doesn’t have the luxury of time. It’s been two week and they haven’t been able to start remediation work in their home.
"All things I’ve researched say you’ve got to deal with it right away or you have mold and long term effects, but we can't do anything," she said.
Hudson has been given the run around by different agencies at the state and federal level. She doesn’t understand why she has had to go through so many stages to access help.
"The system is broken for how individuals access assistance and individuals should not be the last thing on the list for federal assistance," she said.
Part of that problem is that Alameda County is not currently covered under FEMAs Major Disaster Declaration, meaning the family can't access individual assistance. A FEMA spokesperson says assessments are ongoing.
Part of a statement released to KTVU by the California Office of Emergency Services reads:
"Local, state, and federal officials are in the field as we speak conducting damage assessments in order to be able to turn on federal aid programs to additional communities."
The family likely won't be able to live in their home for *at least* six months. They’re temporarily renting a home thanks to a friend of a friend, but said they likely won’t be able to stay there much longer due to the costs of paying both a mortgage and rent. Their biggest concern is how this will affect their children who have been displaced from the only home they know.
"I have two kids that need stability and normality and we can't give that to them right now," Hudson said.
A friend has set up a GoFundMe account for the Poxon-Hudson family to pay for rent, bills, and taking care of their children.
The family purchased the home in 2008 and said issues with the foundation were never disclosed. They hadn’t noticed any previous problems due to years of drought. The hope by sharing their story, they can prompt changes to the system and streamline the process to get aid from government agencies since so many families without resources may not know where to start.
"If the worse comes out where we can't find or pay for a house, we'll put a tent in the backyard," Hudson said. "At least we have a backyard."