Frontline nurse, Navy veteran gets some help after Ida wreaks havoc on home

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Friday, October 1, 2021
Frontline nurse, Navy veteran gets some help after Ida
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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda stepped in to help a family displaced by Ida

BOGOTA, New Jersey (WABC) -- After Hurricane Ida's floodwaters receded - scores of homeowners and renters have been left homeless with no insurance payouts and their former houses and apartments uninhabitable.

That's when 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda stepped in to help one displaced family - who risked their lives during the pandemic to help the most needy.

The wall of water from Ida's wrath crushed and washed away a lifetime of building a home for Chris King.

"It's heart wrenching, it's devastating, I can't tell you, having kids displaced, myself displaced, we do not know where we are going to sleep past next week," King said.

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Chris is a U.S. Navy veteran and a nurse at Hackensack hospital and Pearl is a frontline visiting nurse.

They both never stopped working throughout COVID and have been staying at a county shelter with their kids, Josh and Mia, ever since Ida condemned their house in Bogota.

"Because of the damage on both sides, it is not structurally sound, so we are not allowed to live in this house, they shut the electricity, they shut the gas off, we cannot stay here," King said.

Their FEMA disaster relief funds are still pending, they got turned down for an SBA loan, plus they got no help so far from veterans groups or other charities.

"We don't qualify because we aren't low income," Chris said.

A friend started a GoFundMe for them. In the meantime, the family is draining their savings.

All three of their cars were submerged and totaled.

The Kings called 7 On Your Side when they were notified to vacate their emergency housing in a week.

They had no idea where they were going to go.

First we contacted FEMA, within 48 hours, the pending status for rental assistance was funded. Next the cars: We pushed USAA to cut a check then asked our contacts at Jack Daniels VW for help.

"I'm going to give them a loaner car today so they have a replacement to that spending money on a rental car," said Don Chittum, general manager of Jack Daniels VW.

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The next day the dealer, an Air Force vet, delivered for his fellow vet, putting Pearl in a new car so the nurse can see her patients.

And then another surprise: We asked Bergen County United Way's Compassion Fund to look into the Kings' special case.

United Way announced they will put the family up in a hotel suite with a kitchen and two bedrooms for a week.

The next step for the family is getting a contractor or builder to help with repairs so they can move back home. The deadline to apply for FEMA funds is Nov. 4.



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