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By Kara Pound
Each day gets a little bit easier. But now that the dust is starting to settle, the realization that I need to find more permanent housing for my daughter and myself is creating a lot of stress. Our pre-Hurricane Matthew home, a two-bedroom on Maria Sanchez Lake in Lincolnville, was three years in the making. We had everything just about right. Our busy days of school, work, homework, more work, dinners, and entertaining family and friends was made that much easier by coming home to a house in a neighborhood we loved on a lake that we admired daily.
The same lake that signified us building a home together is the reason that we are no longer able to live there. During the hurricane, more than two feet of water (mixed with an overflow of sewage) came in and saturated the entire house. We lost a third of our belongings including my bed, my daughter’s dresser, the living room couch, a four-decade long collection of family vinyl records, and family photos. Returning home, I honestly thought that I could mop the floors and return to normal. I was sorely mistaken. Over the course of four days, mopping the floors turned into moving all of our salvagables into storage and relocating to a temporary furnished condo at the beach.
While the effects of Hurricane Matthew have come to an end for some, people like my daughter and myself will feel its effects for years. St. Augustine has become an expensive place to live. We continue to build our city and county for the tourists who come to visit. And trust me, I realize we need those visitors as I work in the tourism industry. But I propose that we start looking inwards and creating a home where those who work, live, and love here can afford to plant roots and stay for a lifetime.