After loss of home, belongings, they’re trying to rebuild lives
As Hurricane Barry materialized and brought with it fears of flooding, displacement and beyond, Dwayne Robinson and his family were far from the fray – this time.
It’s only the case because the family of six are still picking up the pieces after severe flooding in December forced them from their Hahnville home, which was destroyed along with the majority of the Robinsons’ belongings.
“Just two days after Christmas,” Robinson said. “Two days after Christmas, we lost everything. It’s been a hard pill to swallow.”
Robinson and his family have had to endure many of the most prevalent fears that come with a major disaster event. They have no home to call their own, money is low as are possessions.
“We’re starting, basically, back at square one,” said Robinson, who along with his wife care for their four children, ages 15, 7, 3 and 2, respectively.
They were able to find shelter via hotel vouchers for approximately three weeks before those ran out – the five briefly lived in the family’s truck, and with their situation coinciding with the government shutdown, Robinson said assistance was tough to come by.
In late January, the family left Hahnville, and Louisiana, behind after Robinson, who does commercial roofing work was relocated by his company to Crescent, Texas. The transition hasn’t been easy in the midst of so much upheaval.
“I can’t say things have gotten totally better,” Robinson said with a sigh. “Work is still slow, which has added to the stress of the situation. We were here about a month before we were able to get into a place … but that didn’t work out, and we’re back in a hotel again. The little work I’m getting, and the same for what my wife earns at her job, is going right back to the hotel.”
As they looked for a place to live, there were some who tried to take advantage of their situation. In one such case, Robinson noted, a group of people were taking their own photos of homes listed on the market. As communication unfolded, he said he became uneasy about the path set before them as the family looked for a viable – and affordable – living situation.
“The guy said he was the landlord, but he had to go back to California to be with his son, who was ill,” Robinson said. “He’d ask if we could send the money out to him, the key would be there waiting … there was another situation where the guys were, with me at work, pressuring my wife to show up without me, all these things to get her to go by herself. We put an end to that, but it was creepy … really nervewracking.”
While the Robinsons avoided falling prey with their money, it did little to lift spirits.
“It’s discouraging. You lose everything, then you have people out there who will try to scam you out of the little you do have,” Robinson said. “They tried everything. And now we’re trying everything on our end to get back on our feet.”
Among those efforts is a GoFundMe page he posted on behalf of his family (a Hahnville posting titled my family lost our home on Dec. 28, put up just after the family had lost its home). He admits he wasn’t sure about doing so – or how it would ultimately work – but options are scarce.
“We don’t have family nearby,” he said. “My wife’s mother passed away recently. I’m originally from California. It’s not to say the family we do have didn’t reach out … but it’s different to have someone right there vs. not having anyone nearby.”
Of the friends he has back in the Hahnville community, some were planning hurricane evacuations while Barry was closing in. The experience is something he hopes to never have to deal with again, and one he says he wouldn’t wish on anyone.
“We’re keeping high spirits,” he said. “Trying to let God work. But it’s difficult, no question. You can’t help but feel the way you feel.”
An ongoing struggle
- Dwayne Robinson and his wife have a family with four children.
- They lost their Hahnville home in December during flooding during a heavy rain event and have been trying to get their lives back to normal since.
- Now in Texas, their recovery has been a slow process.