Families still shaken up by roof collapse at Florence apartment complex

Families still shaken up by roof collapse at Florence apartment complex

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Help was in the Pee Dee Tuesday, as volunteers with the American Red Cross offered relief by going over a recovery plan for those who were forced out of their homes after heavy rain caused a roof to collapse at a Florence apartment complex.

A shelter was set up at the St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Florence to help the dozens impacted by the collapse. Red Cross volunteers were providing financial assistance for food, clothing, future housing and personal hygiene items.

When those impacted by the roof collapse came in, a case worker asked them how much it affected them and their home.

Then, they asked what, specifically, they need help with, whether it be replacing specific items in the homes that were damaged, or needing a different place to stay.

If it's the latter, volunteers with the American Red Cross will help them find another apartment and even pay the deposit and first month's rent to get the person or their families back on their feet.

The roof collapse at the MayFare Apartments in Florence on Monday is an example of how residents need to be prepared in case something like this happens were to happen to them.

That's what volunteers with the American Red Cross are trying to stress to the 42 families who were displaced.

A few people who visited the shelter for assistance Tuesday, overall, were all still shaken up by the situation, but more frustrated. They said the roof hasn't been fixed since Hurricane Matthew.

Some say when it rains, the roof leaks in their apartment while others are experiencing mold.

Now, with this current situation, they want answers, such as if they'll get their deposit back and how fast management plans to repair the roof.

In the meantime, Red Cross staff are telling people who come in for assistance to know before moving into a neighborhood or apartment complex if there have been emergencies or disasters that have happened before, and how fast it was taken care of.

They're explaining how it's important for families to have a plan and have practiced it.

Volunteers also stress that an emergency kit should be somewhere in the home and at least one person in the household should be trained on how to do CPR.

"Have your insurance papers available, have food and water and stuff like that for three or four days if you need to go to a hotel or come to a shelter," said Lou Palm, disaster manager for the American Red Cross' eastern chapter. "Just be prepared. We see a lot damage in Florence County and the rest of Horry and the Pee Dee area from deferred maintenance and that's what's causes a lot of issues."
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[endif]The shelter at the St. Luke's Lutheran Church does not have a set time it's going to close. The Red Cross plans to keep it open until all 42 families have a plan or place to stay.

WMBF News reached out to management at the MayFare Apartment complex to see what plans are in place to get the roof fixed and people back into their homes, but did not get a response.

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