Families left homeless outside Laura’s disaster zones struggle to find aid


NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY) — Thousands of people in Louisiana are still homeless due to the impact of Hurricane Laura; however, not everyone who suffered greatly from the high winds and rain can get individual assistance from FEMA.

Iberia Parish is just outside FEMA’s declared disaster areas.

It’s almost a month since Hurricane Laura took out a tree and home on Buckeye Street in New Iberia, and because of where Phillip Kinard and Mary James live, it’s been difficult for them to find help.

“This is what happened when the tree fell into the trailer,” Kinard said entering his once happy home and gesturing toward the kitchen. His house is now destroyed, looted, and without power.

He and his fiancée have been living all September without a home while trying to find housing assistance from Hurricane Laura. They’ve called the Red Cross and FEMA since the very first day but have not heard back.

Kinard told News 10, “I could understand Iberia Parish was not classified as a disaster area, but it makes us feel like we’re being forgotten, or left out, or not even worried about.”

With rainwater damaging everything, friends and church have provided food and clothes.

Penny St. Julian rode her bicycle down Buckeye St. with a handful of bag lunches in her grip. She said she’s helping because she cares, and she’s seen her friends help others before their time of need.

“It’s sad though. It’s really sad,” St. Julian said. “I would like somebody to step in and come help them. They cannot do it alone.”

Kinard is disabled with three plates in his neck, and while bouncing from friend’s house to friend’s house James’ dog Pop can’t even stay with them.

“I want my house. I want to live in my house. You can’t live in other people’s house, and do what you want to do. I want my own house,” James said.

Both James and Kinard expressed they are thankful for the help they’ve received, but their dream is to restore their home, and without federal disaster aid in available in Iberia Parish, it will be impossible without someone’s help.

Kinard said they’d love help from a tree service or any agency that get them to the start or finish line. He said, “I’m only reaching out for help. Anyone that can help us pull our lives together is all I’m asking for.”

If you’d like to help this family out, they can be reached at (337)-577-9885 or (337)-241-5091. Click here to see if you qualify for assistance through FEMA.

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