Manatee hurricane victim still waiting for FEMA response

FEMA: inspection status of claim is 'pending'
Posted at 11:32 PM, Sep 15, 2017

One of Manatee County's hardest hit hurricane victims says she's getting no response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. 

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster," said Lisa Vernold. 

While Vernold is thankful for power and a safe place to sleep at a Bradenton Motel 6, she doesn't know how much longer she can afford a motel. 

"Most people here have their hotel stays paid for by FEMA, I do not," said Vernold. "If it wasn't for my uncle, my sister, my niece, I wouldn't be having a place to stay right now. We’d be staying in our van.”

Hurricane Irma's winds knocked down the family's massive ficus tree, uprooting it from under the concrete driveway and tore through a portion of the home, located on 6th East Street in Bradenton. 

“We’re not getting no help anywhere," Vernold said.  

Vernold filed a claim with FEMA as soon as she could on Monday. 

Vernold told ABC Action News, there's been "no communication" coming from FEMA. 

The agency's Web site states that an inspection of the property is "pending" because they say the area is inaccessible. 

"There were people coming in here left and right," Vernold said. "People coming inside my house, I had you there.”

ABC Action News asked FEMA why they claim the property is not accessible. Members of the media, law enforcement and neighbors have stopped by to check out the sight all week long. 

A spokesperson told ABC Action News, they can not comment on specific claims. 

Vernold just hopes the agency isn't stalling on her claim and will get her the help she needs. 

"My life is already stressful enough," Vernold said. "So this just adds stress on top of stress.”

When we asked how long residents have to wait for help after filing a claim, the spokesperson said it all depends on where they fall in the que for an inspection. 

FEMA said its received more than 413,000 registrations for assistance in Florida following Hurricane Irma.