'I barely make it': Hurricane Florence survivors in Leland still repairing destroyed homes 1 year after the storm

LELAND, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's been a year since Hurricane Florence and in the Stoney Creek Plantation in Leland you can still see devastation from the storm.

While many homeowners are back in their homes, the rebuilding process inside their homes continues.

Tom Meyer's is one of those residents. "It's hard to find the money for materials at this point. I barely make it from month to month right now."

During Florence, Meyer tried to ride out the storm in his home but ended up having to be rescued by boat from his upstairs window after more than 7 feet of water entered his home.

After the water receded, everything on Meyer's first floor was destroyed. He wasn't alone; several of his neighbors lost everything as well.

Like many in the Stoney Creek Plantation, Meyer didn't have flood insurance. He said FEMA did pay him the maximum allowed, a little more than $30,000, but he had more than $200,000 worth of damage to his home.

Meyer, along with his kids and four dogs all lived in a trailer provided by FEMA while he tried to fix up his home little by little.

He said one of the hardest things to deal with are offers from state programs or the community to help, but then they don't deliver on those promises. Meyer describes one encounter he had with a representative from the state who offered advice on a state program that could help him.

"There's a new program by the state. They guarantee to take the first 50 applicants, you're number three, fill it out. I filled it out for the man. I'll be there on Monday to see what you need. I'm still waiting," Meyer said.

Meyer got enough work done inside his home, he finally could move out of the FEMA trailer in June, but he still has a long way to go.

"A year later I'm still $40,000 short of finishing the house," Meyer said.

The inside of Meyer's home still looks like a construction zone, and there are still signs of Florence. For example, his sliding glass door still has two feet of water from the hurricane stuck inside it.

Meyer said it's a $1,000 fix and he just doesn't have the money.

A few of Meyer's neighbors who had insurance are back in their homes and the construction is done. But not everybody. One oh his neighbors, a family of six, is living in a motorhome parked outside their damaged home. They also didn't have flood insurance, and also are slowly fixing up their home as they can afford it.

Meyer said the last year of trying to pick up the pieces has taken such an emotional and physical toll on him and his family. He said he tries to stay strong, but it's tough knowing he has so much more to do to his home to get back to where it was before Florence.
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