Home » Dorchester Co. man loses home to storm damage, cannot qualify for federal assistance

Dorchester Co. man loses home to storm damage, cannot qualify for federal assistance

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Dorchester County, South Carolina (WCSC) – Cleanup efforts continue after Hurricane Ian hit the Lowcountry as a Category 1 storm in late September. But some people who damaged their homes fell through the cracks.

Geoffrey Mikel, a homeowner in the Stratton-Capers area, was told he was ineligible for federal aid even after his home was destroyed in a storm. Not only was he, but Dorchester County as a whole did not meet the requirements for federal aid.

“I used all my retirement money to buy a house.

Mikel lost almost everything after Hurricane Ian after a tree fell on his house during a storm and the roof collapsed.

“Everything came down on me. I was stuck in the house for about 15 minutes,” Mikel explained.

The tree also hit a neighbor.

“It was literally like cutting off the side of his house with a knife,” he said.

The difference is that Mikel’s house was not covered by insurance. He said that when he bought the house in 1999, he couldn’t afford the repairs to qualify for insurance.

He had hoped for government assistance to help him, but he was disappointed only to learn. Charleston, Berkeley, Georgetown and Horley counties qualified.

“Dorchester County wasn’t listed anywhere and I, we were raided too, I mean we lost the whole house. How do you fail?” he said.

Mikel estimates that it will cost more than $160,000 to fully repair the damage.

A FEMA spokesperson reports that Dorchester County “is not included in the request for assistance and therefore has no applicable FEMA disaster relief programs.”

Eligibility begins with a state of emergency declaration from the local government or governor.

Mikel said Dorchester County officials informed him that the county did not meet the financial standards of eligibility.

“They told me they almost said we were out of luck,” Mikel said.

The county also determined the structure was unsafe and Mikel was not allowed inside. Ideally, he wants to stay in the neighborhood.

Mikel is a community crime watchdog in the Stratton Capers area just minutes from the Charleston County border.

However, he would likely sell the property “as is”.

At the very least, he hopes to save as much as he can, including an antique china cabinet given to him by his mother, so that others don’t fall through the cracks like he did.

“My transaction is done. There is nothing we can do about it. But how can we prevent this from happening to someone else in the near future?” Mikel said.

Live 5 News reached out to Dorchester County, but their offices were closed for the holidays.

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