Derecho One Year Later: People still not back home after storm damaged mobile home park

The derecho damaged the mobile home where Debra Keppmeyer lives.
The derecho damaged the mobile home where Debra Keppmeyer lives.(KCRG)
Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 6:02 AM CDT
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BENTON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - A mobile home park in Benton County took on so much damage in the derecho on August 10, 2020, nearly everyone living there still is not back in their homes.

People were sleeping in tents and campers in the Timber Ridge Mobile Home Park for weeks after the storm. Volunteers came to help clean up.

Now one year later, some mobile homes are still ravaged, or falling off its foundation, or with siding still peeled back showing the insulation.

Debra Keppmeyer still lives amongst the wreckage, saying she’s living in a nightmare.

She says the roof leaks water on to what’s left of the makeshift deteriorated flooring of her “rent-to-own” home. She says the floor was damaged before the storm but it continues to get worse every time it rains. And now animals are starting to make their way inside.

“It’s just cats but it could almost be anything else it could be a raccoon it could be anything the floors are so bad,” said Keppmeyer.

Keppmeyer tried to get help through FEMA and nonprofit organizations.

“FEMA says it takes time because there’s a lot of people that are worse off than we are,” said Keppmeyer.

She eventually became fed up with the lack of help and frustrated by bureaucracy that she threw away her FEMA forms. She says help and hope is now lost.

“I just got to the point that I just want to give up and just do it all myself now,” said Keppmeyer.

Because Keppmeyer’s mobile home is rent to own, Iowa Legal Aid says it depends on what the contract says for who has to pay for the property damages. They say most times a contract is not given to the mobile home owner.

TV9 reached out to Timber Ridge Mobile Home Park and did not hear back.

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