137
137
16

Military Family Home Destroyed by Earthquake

$8,715 of $289,000 goal

Raised by 128 people in 5 months
On November 30, 2018 a 7.0 earthquake wreaked havoc on Alaskans in the Anchorage area. For us, it took away our home where we planned to raise our children after my husband’s military service.

We were stationed at JBER in 2012. After a year living in Alaska we fell in love with the state and knew we wanted to live there permanently. We had used our VA loan to purchase our house in Eagle River and got to stay there a few more years until it was time for our next duty station. Since we are currently station in Fort Bragg, NC  we had our home rented out through a property management company. Considered a rental property our home was not used for monetary gain but as a way to secure our future. It is hard owning a home when you move across the nation every few years. Yet, it always gave us joy knowing that we had a place to go after my husband’s service.

Our home was not the newest house on the block but it had characteristics that we loved. The beautiful two story home was located at the end of a cul-de-sac where we knew our kids could play safely outside without the fear of traffic. The living room had long windows covering the front wall letting it fill with natural light. The upper deck made you feel like you were in a tree house because of the large pine trees growing in the backyard. The attached garage made unloading groceries a breeze, especially when you wanted to avoid the cold winter air. It is hard to believe that we will never live in that house again.

Luckily no one was hurt when the earthquake hit. My heart goes out to the renters and for the possessions they have loss. We were told the house was declared 100 percent destroyed. Our home split in half and fell almost an entire story down when a possible sinkhole developed underneath it. We are still waiting for the official report.

My husband’s intention for a safe place to call our home has buried him under our remaining $289,000 loan when the insurance company denied our claim. We were confident that we were covered for earthquakes but through some miscommunication we were not. At this point rebuilding is not even possible. We are currently looking into all our options for any relief. Our financial future is uncertain.
However, this is not the end for us and I know my husband will always find a way to put clothes on our back, food on the table, and a roof over our heads. Any generosity would alleviate the burden this natural disaster has put on our shoulders. At this time money raised will go to our monthly mortgage that will continue to come until the loan is paid. Updates will be given as we learn more. Please share our story and thank you for your support.

35076292_1544467528590121_r.jpeg                     Before and After Photos
35076292_1544467555707826_r.jpeg
35076292_1544467620645872_r.jpegPictured above is the front door sitting lower than the steps
35076292_1544467670510430_r.jpeg35076292_1544467767794879_r.jpegCorner of house where the garage sank
+ Read More
I believe we are due for an update. Our second appeal to FEMA was also declined. It stated the same reason: not your primary residence. We were hoping that asking for funding for a demolition due to a public safety hazard would change things but we were wrong. We are still waiting to hear back with our appeal from the state.

After receiving our denial letter from FEMA, as a last ditch effort, we wrote letters to legislators and persons of interest who could make a deference. Writing those letters was a completely new experience for us and it was exciting when we got 3 respond backs. Sam Walton the Disaster Assistance Program Manager for the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management wrote a very kind email but stated “Unfortunately, neither state or federal law have provisions to exclude certain categories of homeowners from the requirements of owner-occupancy and primary residence or allowed absences at the time of a disaster event. “ We also received a phone call from Sherry Edwards the Constituent Services Director for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and an email from the desk of Congressman Don Young. They both asked us to sign a Privacy Act Release Form so that they could look into our situation with FEMA. Whether anything comes from it we don’t know but it’s nice to know that our letters and emails were actually received and addressed.

It saddens me to say that our home was broken into a few days ago in the attempt to steal our former tenants’ property. Last week the MOA declared our home a dangerous building and required us to secure the property. We think somebody must have learned of this and decided to take that opportunity before we had the home boarded up. We struggled to find a contractor that could secure our home in a timely manner. Most contractors were so busy it’d take weeks some months to even come out and look at the home. We did find some contractors that could do emergency calls and board the home the same day but when they saw the home or heard it was red tagged, they told us the home was too unsafe for them to work on. After numerous phone calls and recommendations we did eventually find a company to board up our home but unfortunately it was 2 days after the break in.

I just want to say that on the outside this property may look abandoned but it’s not. We still own this property. We still make monthly payments in the hope that we can somehow find the funding. Yes we are running out of time and exhausting all our resources but the home for the time is still ours. Breaking into our home is an insult to us and our tenants. The property is declared so dangerous that NOBODY is to enter for the risk of it collapsing. Please have respect for the tenants and our misfortune.

I’m showing photos of our denial letters in case anyone would like to know what they look like. And yes they are all different letters, just check the dates.
+ Read More
FEMA has denied our appeal. They simply refuse to look past that our home was not our primary residence at the time of the earthquake. Therefore our request for a special consideration was declined. We recently sent an appeal on the State’s decision since FEMA will not help us. However, after talking to the State’s representative she said that their policies mirror FEMA’s. Foreclosure is looking like our only realistic option left pending on the State’s appeal decision. We are in the process of gathering more information on bankruptcy, foreclosure, and short sale. Hopefully we can decide which option is the least damaging to our financial future. All I can say is I am just deeply disappointed with the whole system. The earthquake destroyed our home, our financial savings, and our future life goal. Everything has changed for us. I wish FEMA and the State could see that rather than slapping us in the face with their denial reasons.
+ Read More
We received the denial letter from FEMA last month for reasons we already knew. Today we sent out the appeal letter. The letter asked for special consideration due to our unique situation. Trying to keep it short and to the point the appeal still ended up 4 pages long with 18 documents supporting our case. We need a lot of luck and blessings that FEMA grants us this special consideration.

We are also trying to talk with SBA to see if we can get an affordable loan offer which isn’t looking good. Here’s hoping that they can work with us.

Also it’s determined that we will be getting absolutely nothing from our insurance. If both FEMA and SBA fail us then we are officially on our own.

Some good news. With the help of an excellent tax lady we are getting back a really good tax return. It’s enough to give us more time but not even close to what we need.

Somehow we will get through this. It’s just a shame that there is so many programs and agencies offering assistance but we don’t qualify for anything. It’s a black and white situation and we are in the gray area. April is a big month for us here’s praying that it’s a positive one.
+ Read More
We officially applied for FEMA on February 1. We talked with two separate FEMA representatives and they both said we will be denied for individual assistance because we did not live in the home and that we should apply as a business. We weren't surprised since that was exactly why we were denied for the Individual State Disaster Assistance. The only problem I have with applying for business is there are no grants. We will mostly likely be referred to SBA for a loan. We need a loan so we can rebuild but I wish we could have funding for at least the demolition. Really hoping for some good news with FEMA.

While we were waiting for FEMA we've been looking for advice and information on what we should do and where we could find other funding.

We currently have a lawyer looking into our insurance claim. Its currently just a free consult but we've been busy trying to gather all our documentation for him to look through. The hope is he will be able to find something that we can get money for.

Since Ft. Bragg legal assistance had no advice on our situation we called the JBER legal assistance in Alaska. The lawyer there actually had advice and recommended sources. To some up what he said there will be no grants for us, a SBA loan will help with a rebuild, getting a lawyer to look at our insurance claim is a good idea, and we shouldn't ever have to file bankruptcy because of the VA loan guarantee. Not really new information but it gave us clarity.

We are also writing a letter to the governor of Alaska requesting to have an exception to the State's disaster assistance program qualifications for Alaska residents who are out-of-state due to military orders for financial aid by recognizing the legal residence as the primary residence damaged in the earthquake. Again the hope is to find any funding.

Thanks again for all those who are supporting us in this long journey.
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$8,715 of $289,000 goal

Raised by 128 people in 5 months
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
$25
Anonymous
3 days ago
$75
David Bozard
5 days ago
DL
$300
David Long
1 month ago
$100
Anonymous
5 months ago
$50
Anonymous
5 months ago
$5
Jordan Fandel
5 months ago
$100
Anonymous
5 months ago
AH
$25
A Human
5 months ago
AH
$25
A Human
5 months ago
$20
Jessika Mathe
5 months ago
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.