VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Virginia Beach City Council members approve allocating almost $9 million to help the city and residents with storm relief efforts.
“We did not have a plan to deal with this kind of an incident,” Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen says of Hurricane Matthew’s impact and aftermath.
The city’s plan now, Hansen says, is to move from the recovery to rebuilding phase, with cleaning homes at the top of the list.
“My number one priority is to get every house that was flooded in Virginia Beach mucked out,” he says.
About 75 fire and police department recruits are already in some homes ripping out carpet and tearing out drywall.
“We issued them tetanus shots for those that were out of date. We provided them the proper materials, masks etc. and they are in there with supervision to do that,” Hansen says.
They’ll continue their work on homes that have at least electricity and a working HVAC system, he says.
“Once we get to there we can move into, as you heard, find them some bedding, find them some chairs and find them a table,” he says.
Many of those items residents will soon be able to get using vouchers to the Salvation Army and Red Cross. Those items may also come used directly from city storage or warehouses now that city council approved allocating $300,000 for nonprofits to assist in distributing what the city manager says are the very basic items residents need to make a house a home.
“It's better than camping out in a tent, but it's not the home that you thought it was before the storm but it's still very livable,” he says.
For those who still need a place to stay the city also allocated a total of $25,000 to provide residents with housing for one week.
“Where does that person have to be at the end of a week?,” Hansen asks rhetorically. “Back in his house.”
Should that house need more repairs city council also gave permission for those repairs to be done without certain permits.
“They're going through all this they shouldn't have to worry about red tape, and getting a permit and getting a license,” says Virginia Beach City Council Member, Shannon Kane.
It's help the city officials say they hope will still be helpful to residents even if it is eleven days after the storm hit.
“Of course it's late, but it's not too little,” Kane says.
Emergency management officials estimate that so far Virginia Beach has at least $4.8 million in storm-related damages, but they expect that to eventually reach $7 million.