Anchorage family facing foreclose on home after earthquake causes major damage
Hundreds of homes in Southcentral were damaged by the Nov. 30 earthquake, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The toll of the destruction is rising as inspectors make their way around the region.
Homeowners picking up the pieces left in the quake's wake are finding high costs and low hopes for help funding repairs.
Keith and Monica Anderson say they're worried about their earthquake-damaged house in Sand Lake, a home that's sinking into the ground. The more it sinks, the deeper their financial hole goes. With each aftershock, the Andersons say their home is slowly slipping away.
"It's just getting bigger and bigger," Monica said.
The Andersons were in Seattle when the quake hit and saw their house for the first time Monday.
"We both just instantly teared up. I tear up just thinking about it," Keith said.
With no earthquake insurance, the Andersons are left with more questions than answers.
"I'm trying to stay strong and stay strong for [my family], but nobody prepares for this and there's nothing we can do," Keith said. "It's horrible."
The Andersons' home has cracks in its foundation, doors that are stuck and a large crack surrounding it. Keith said the house shifted and split, meaning it will take a lot of time and money to repair.
The home is empty now because they no longer live there. It was set to sell the week after the quake and the buyer has pulled out of the deal.
"We were supposed to sign the papers and be gone," Keith said. "We were supposed to make a little money and now we're looking $200,000 to $250,000 the opposite way. Two mortgages later, financially you know, we are stuck big time."
Even if they spent the money to repair it, the Andersons know the house still won't sell.
"Would you want to buy a house that can't handle an earthquake with your kids in it?" Keith asked. "I don't want to put my kids back in here."
After living in the house for seven years, the Andersons are left in financial turmoil. Keith and Monica say they will most likely have to file for bankruptcy and foreclose on their foregone home.
Theirs is not the only story of a house left in ruin, nor is it the only story of Alaskans standing strong. The Andersons thank their friends, softball community AK Krush and family who have supported them. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family.
The couple is waiting to find out what assistance their bank along with state and federal disaster relief can offer before deciding where to go from here.
Questions remain over what government help is available. State and FEMA officials told the Anchorage Assembly this week residents whose homes sustained damage could apply for state individual assistance programs and those eligible for could receive up to $17,450. Federal assistance programs could provide up to $34,900, but state and federal awards cannot be combined.
FEMA regional administer Michael O’Hare says it's too early to say whether Alaskans will be eligible for federal help under the individual assistance program. The agency has yet to receive a major declaration disaster request from the state.
Homeowners with damage can file for assistance at ready.alaska.gov.
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