Family ‘at wit’s end’

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Scott Littlefield, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Family ‘at wit’s end’

By Deborah McDermott
dmcdermott@seacoastonline.com

PORTSMOUTH — Janet Tucker and Scott Littlefield walked out of their house on Monday morning after the Mother’s Day weekend floods “with the clothes on our back” — and they haven’t been back since.

What makes matters worse, they and their two children are living in a camper in the driveway of their Suzanne Drive home, looking out every day on the house they haven’t been able to enter for six weeks.

The topper, though, is that it will likely be the end of the summer before they can move back in. And although they have a rental voucher from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, they’ve been unable to find an apartment for just two months.

“Our kids are falling apart,” said Tucker, of their 10- and 12-year-old daughters. “They can’t have their friends over. They can’t do anything. And they can’t go home. They have nothing, nothing.”

Their house was hit with a double whammy. The basement, which contained a bedroom, bathroom and living room in the small ranch house, was waterlogged from the rains that flooded the Seacoast that mid-May weekend.

But when a local mold mitigation company came in to remove the carpet, asbestos tile was found underneath. Littlefield suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, a chronic neurological condition that causes severe burning pain and tissue swelling, among other symptoms. His auto immune system has been compromised as a result, he said. Tucker called city health officials, who told her Littlefield should not return to the house.

And to this day, he hasn’t.

The Red Cross gave the family clothing vouchers. The Salvation Army supplied clothes as the weather got warmer. FEMA and state emergency management officials have been “wonderful” in helping them.

FEMA found the camper they are living in, which had been donated. And while they say they are grateful to have it, the camper provides cramped quarters at best. In order to eat, they have to remove one bed so they can get to the table. In order to sit in the living area, they have to remove another bed.

A company that specializes in asbestos abatement and mold remediation has been hired to clean up the basement and remove the tiles, but it isn’t able to do the job until late July. The work is expected to take three to four weeks.

Tucker said she has called many apartment complexes but has been told they would need to sign a year’s lease. The irony, she said, is that they have a rental voucher for $1,200 a month but can’t find a place.

Meanwhile, she tears up whenever she thinks of her children.

She said they have only two games, and even the charger for an iPod belonging to one of her daughters is in the house.

“I just want a place where we can have some stability,” she said. “I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through it.”

Video of this story available on this page (click here)

Click Here For Original Article Online

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