Multiple floods have Byram homeowners pleading for answers and aid, Hinds EMA responds

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BYRAM, Miss. (WJTV) – In February through April heavy rainfall engulfed dozens of streets along or near the Pearl River from Jackson to Byram. But homeowners individually will not see federal aid after FEMA determined the severity of the damage was not enough.

“Only thing I can say is please help us,” Timothy Jernigan of Byram said.

A plea from many homeowners in Robinson Estates where neighbors feel pushed to the end of the line by several floods. 

“The people have been here long enough and they’re just getting tired of it,” Jernigan continued. “They just decided to move, pack up and go. They can’t take it anymore.”

Outside many homes still sit piles of rotted furniture, torn up walls and floors, illustrating the damage people dealt with. But with the street so vulnerable building back isn’t always worth it. 

“Their house when it floods, floods the garage, mine floods the kitchen and two bedrooms,” Lester Chneider compared with his neighbor’s yard. “We ripped out all the carpet, baseboard was pulled up and replaced. I got cabinetry work that still needs to be done.”

“Since we’ve been here, they need to look at this closely and advocate this place as a serious flood zone,” Jernigan stated. “Because when it rains the creek backs up, the storm drains stop up and that water is just creeping up to the houses.”

Hinds County Emergency Management oversees a lot of the damage assessment, but after submitting the stats, the April numbers fell short of FEMA’s requirement for aid

“We had six homes that either had major damage or destroyed,” Hinds County EMA Director Ricky Moore told us. “And by FEMA criteria we need at least 25 homes to be majorly damaged or destroyed to get a federal declaration.” 

To FEMA, water rising above the electric outlets in 25 homes is considered majorly damaged. But director Moore did point to another helpful program Hinds County February flood victims can turn to. 

Small business administration, low interest rate loans,” Moore said. “They can go on the SBA website and put their paperwork in to qualify for some SBA money. If it was me, I would be on the computer first thing in the morning trying to get that money.”

As for protecting the Robinson and surrounding estates in Byram from a repeat of April flooding, homeowners want to see ditches and the runoff creeks dugout.

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