Westlake Apartments residents relieved after Irma, but worry about the months to come

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A year later, residents at Westlake Apartments are still trying to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Matthew.

Last year many of them returned home to flooding, interior damage, mold, spoiled food and ruined clothing. Tropical Storm Irma left many of them expecting the same, if not worse.

Tiarra Williams, 24, has lived at Westlake all her life. She evacuated last year to the Southside to her mother’s house for Matthew.

This year, she left for Charleston with her children and her mom, hoping she would return to a home that was still in tact — and she did.

Williams, who still suffers from mold in her apartment says that she and others are blessed to not go through the same thing they did last year.

“I came back the next morning walking in water waist deep. Walking to my house like I just lost everything. So what are we suppose to come back to?” Williams asks.

That was her first question after hearing about Hurricane Irma. She fled to Charleston with her family, not knowing what she would return to.

“I thought it was going to be gone, nothing but frames and bricks. That’s what I was expecting. I was already prepared like okay — go ahead and blow away,” Williams says.

Blowing away wouldn’t solve all of the problems they face on a daily basis: like being low-income housing residents who want to treated like regular people.

“In a way, I’d feel like we lost a lot but we’ve lost way more than what we expect to lose staying out here. They’re supposed to be helping us build ourselves up, not keeping us here low like we don’t matter. We do matter,” Williams says.

Since we are at the peak of Hurricane season, they aren’t sure what to expect in the upcoming months.

She does know that something needs to be done, and they cannot face the same tragedy they did last year.

“If y’all can get somewhere where the drain or pump where it’s going to pump all this water, don’t just bottle up and bottle it up, I think we’ll be fine,” says Williams, “But if they’re not going to do as much work as they claim they’re going to do, go ahead and tear it down. There’s no point in being out here, and we’re getting sicker by the year.”

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