|A year has passed since the South Platte River began flooding and caused major infrastructure damage for thousands of Coloradans living everywhere from Fort Collins to Boulder, but despite the dozens of professionals and volunteers who dedicated their time, money, and energy to rebuilding their homes, many residents are still in the middle of resettling. The flooding, which occurred in September 2013, affected nearly every type of infrastructure possible — from highways to fishing holes, from brand new neighborhoods to hundred-year-old landmarks, water damage from the flood was everywhere, and it’s still evident in many neighborhoods after a year of rebuilding.While the Colorado Department of Natural Resources keeps working with landscaping development teams and federal-funded organizations to restructure Colorado’s waterways, many residents still feel like their lives are in flux. As is the case with most natural disasters, lower-income residents in the affected areas are still struggling to find enough money to repair residential damages, and many people have accepted the fact that they will be making home repairs for quite some time.
Hundreds of mobile home residents, for example, were left homeless after the flood ravaged six different mobile home communities and caused so much damage that nearly 300 mobile homes were no longer fit to live in. Although FEMA provided these Coloradans with emergency trailers, the occupants of these trailers note that they have little time left before they’ll be forced to move out of the FEMA trailers.
Of course, many residents have been working hard to raise enough money to buy and/or refurbish new mobile homes — in some cases, not even 17-hour workdays can cover basic daily costs and the price of a new home — and repairs have been ongoing, but are happening slowly. Take, for example, something as simple as a shower door. Most homeowners wouldn’t have to worry about having the money to purchase one, and many people wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to splurge a bit on a custom-designed fiberglass door to fit their interior decor style. Residents in flood-affected Coloradan towns, on the other hand, may have to work for months to save up enough money for a basic shower door.
In these Colorado towns, nothing is taken for granted anymore. Although town officials have stated that they’re still working on creating substantial housing options for residents, it’s becoming clear that time is running out — and putting millions of dollars toward road repairs won’t mean a thing if there aren’t residents around to use those roads.