Now, months after initial frustrations with the state response, Henry says some can’t deal with delays any longer.
“We have residents that have literally given up,” she said.
Another woman, who lived in an apartment building that was condemned by flood damage, questioned whether residents would have had to fight for help if the flood damage affected a more affluent part of the city.
“I just feel like if this flood happened and affected just up the road, a little bit up [Route] 202 some, the insignificance that I feel it wouldn’t be,” she said. “We would have gotten some type of help or something like that by now.”
Flooding victims expressed their anger to leaders of several state agencies and nonprofit groups in an online forum Thursday night coordinated by the Delaware Poor People’s Campaign. Most of the victims did not share their names publicly in the forum.
The goal of the meeting was to connect those in need directly with people who could take action to help them.
But some victims were frustrated that it’s taken this long for such a coordinated outreach event to occur.
“Most of us are still homeless,” said Royal Conquest, who was forced out of his home in the Claymont Street Apartments. He’s had trouble finding a shelter that would accept both him and his teenage daughters.
He said he’s lost faith in state agencies and other providers who offered help.
“I’m going to be honest, no one believes any of you guys,” he said to agency leaders. “I’m not saying that to be facetious nor rude. We’re only calling it how we’re seeing it from the four to five months, almost six months that we’ve been in this situation. No one believes you.”
For one man, the forum comes just as he’s running out of money and vouchers to pay for a hotel room as his shelter. “I just spent the last of my money on a hotel for a week. So next Wednesday at 11 o’clock, I’m done.”
Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik promised to examine the hotel vouchers that are available from the state for those in need of housing and connect them with resources that could provide that funding.
“To the extent people need hotel vouchers, we will connect you and try to find something, whether it’s staying where you are or a new location,” she said.