FEMA: Housing is the biggest immediate task - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

FEMA: Housing is the biggest immediate task

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HAMILTON, COUNTY TN.  (WRCB)  --  It could be months before some storm victims can return to their homes, which means many are left with the task of finding a place to live, as they rebuild their lives.

FEMA is working to identify available apartments and homes to refer survivors to when they visit local centers. 

Gene and Roxy Gambrell's Apison home was supposed to be their retirement home.  The couple's, "last stop" as he puts it.

"I lost everything," he says.  "Everything in that house is destroyed." 

Never one to worry about the weather, Gambrell and his wife rode out the EF-4 tornado that shifted his home off its foundation in their living room.

"The good neighbors came over and got us out," he says.  "We spent the night over there." 

Since then the couple has stayed at a home their church offered.  "It's a retreat home, very expensive," he says.  "More than I can afford". 

They're lucky, insurance will cover the next month's rent.  Now Gambrell just has to decide what to do next.

"I'm between a rock and a hard place," he says.  "I don't know what to do."  That's whether to rebuild his home, or move closer to family out of state.  It's the kind of decisions hundreds of storm victims are now forced to make. 

"When you're registering and talking to us about assistance," says spokesman, Greg Hughes.  "We can point you in the right direction to find rental homes in your area." 

FEMA representatives say they're researching available rental locations for victims. 

"We can offer a grant that'll cover up to 3 months," says Hughes.  "Then if they need more time they can come back to us." 

Although Gambrell feels blessed to have found a temporary home, it doesn't make the decisions about his families future any easier.

"Me, my wife, and my dog Barnie this was gonna be our last stop," Gambrell says.  "I had everything set up the way I wanted it, everything." 

All storm victims receive temporary housing information through FEMA when they register.  You can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA. 

Tennessee and North Georgia victims can also find information online.

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