WARREN (WXYZ) - "It's been hell," says Gretchen Domino, standing outside her home in Warren that sustained massive damage during the recent flood. Mold is now rapidly spreading throughout the house.
Domino, a Highland Park police officer, is now wondering if federal funds will be available to her and others who lost so much as a result of the flooding on August 11.
Written in large letters on the side of Domino's home is "Where is the help."
On Tuesday, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) joined Michigan State Police, the United States Small Business Administration and local emergency management workers to begin assessing flood damage in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
The various agencies will work in six teams for the next few days, assessing damage to homes in all three counties. The information gathered from residents, businesses and municipalities will then be analyzed and forwarded to Governor Rick Snyder who can then request what's called a "federal declaration" that opens the door for possible federal financial assistance to homeowners, businesses and municipalities. Decisions are made county by county, according to FEMA's Sandy Jasmund.
Michigan State Police Lieutenant Michael Shaw says as the teams are going through the neighborhoods to assess flood damage, they are also encouraging residents to take advantage of the services offered by calling Helping Hand at 2-1-1 or visiting www.mi211.org.
Federal and state representatives declined to estimate how long the entire process might take that could deliver financial assistance to people like Domino who says her insurance carrier, Allstate, has informed her that her policy does not cover the damages incurred.
On August 11, as raw sewage entered her home through the toilets and drains, water that was flooding neighborhood streets sent a landscaping boulder crashing into a basement wall, making a large hole that allowed water that was about two feet deep on area streets to completely fill the basement.
"They're sending money to other countries all the time," said Domino. "What about us?"