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FEMA, Longmont Contradictions Leave Some Residents In Limbo

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A letter from Longmont to Kristen Planer (credit: CBS)

A letter from Longmont to Kristen Planer (credit: CBS)

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A letter from Longmont to Kristen Planer (credit: CBS)

A letter from Longmont to Kristen Planer (credit: CBS)

LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4) – People in some neighborhoods are still trying to start the rebuilding process, and for one in Longmont, residents are stuck in limbo.

“We kind of just want to come home, but we can’t,” Longmont resident Kristen Planer said.

For Planer and her 9-year-old daughter Madeline, September’s flood was just the beginning of their nightmare.

“I feel, you know, like a failure as a parent,” Planer said.

For 10 weeks the two have been living with friends, family, and are now in a shelter.

“Wondering what is happening? What do we do now?” Planer said.

The family qualified for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid, but only to rebuild. The City of Longmont estimated damage at more than $26,000, but FEMA awarded them just over $9,000 and told them to repair and return.

“That’s what they are saying, ‘Repair it and return.’ And then the city is saying, ‘You can’t live there anymore,’ “ Planer said.

It turns out the city is in the process of buying the park for flood mitigation. In a letter they told Planer the area is not safe to live in. She’s one of about 40 families in the same position.

“All these units will be removed and destroyed,” she said.

She calls it not so much a battle, but a game.

“If someone could just tell me exactly what I need to do.”

CBS4 spoke with FEMA and the City of Longmont and both are aware of the situation. They say at issue is the condemnation of the mobile homes, which could allow more funding from FEMA. But the city doesn’t permit mobile homes, so the city says they can’t issue condemnations.

“I feel really pretty confused and devastated.”

Planer, along with the other families, say they’re stuck. She’s tried everything from keeping meticulous paperwork to seeking help from Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“I bought a home for us, in cash, and then I was told it can’t be insured for flood, and then a flood came,” she said.

There may be an end in sight. The Longmont City Council is discussing the purchase of the mobile home park in a city council meeting this week.

Colorado Floods: How To Help

The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.

More September Flooding Stories

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