Matthew victims return to rebuilt homes after 14-month wait

Elaina Athans Image
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Families able to return to Matthew-ruined homes
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In Fayetteville, a pair of families finally returned to rebuilt homes.

FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Joyce Elwood was exuberant as she got a look at her new home for the first time.

"Oh wow," she said, while looking around in amazement.

She and her three special-needs children were rescued from the Fayetteville house 14 months ago when Hurricane Matthew hit.

Men who saved the family helped to welcome the Elwood family back into the neighborhood and in their newly renovated home.

"I could have died, but I didn't. God said 'We're going to keep you here a little bit longer for your kids,' and I'm happy to know that everything worked out great," she said.

The Elwoods were one of two families to receive a newly remodeled home. The Hackett family has been living out of hotels and stayed at six spots. They don't have any furniture for the new home, but say it's not a problem.

"We're happy, we're home," LaShe't Hackett said. "So if it means sleeping on the floor, we're OK with that because we're back home."

Parishioners from United Methodist Disaster Recovery have been helping the families pick up the pieces.

Crews have spent months gutting the houses, laying down new hardwood floors, putting up drywall, and rebuilding shattered dreams.

"We're looking forward to family coming. Everybody's excited and they want to do the first official Christmas here and that's what we're looking forward to," Hackett said.

While these folks have been able to return, other residents are still waiting. Several other nearby homes are destroyed, and the team is working in hopes of reopening one in the spring.