After sewage flooded their house, Winona family says they face homelessness since insurance company won’t keep paying for temporary housing

WINONA, Miss. (WCBI) – In June, a Winona family had to leave their home after they say it was flooded with both water and sewage and have been in temporary housing while repairs are being made.

But now, with over six weeks of repairs still left to be done, they say the insurance company will no longer pay for that temporary housing.

“They don’t care,” says Rebecca Washington. “They don’t care about us. They don’t have no kind of compassion for us.”

Rebecca and her granddaughter Alexia say their Winona home has flooded twice during the summer of 2021, first in June and again in August.

“There was sewage everywhere, from the back of the house to the front of the house,” Alexia says. “Sewage was filling the tubs and the faucets and anywhere there was sewage that could come out.”

Alexia says it was like waking up in a swamp.

“The stench of the mold that was building up, it was hard for us to breath, to even be in the home,” she says.

The family says it was the June flood that did the worst of the damage, leaving an ankle-deep mixture of water and sewage throughout the house.

“The smell was awful,” Rebecca says. “You could hardly breathe. Made you sick to your stomach. Nauseating.”

After Rebecca went to the mayor, the city determined that the sewer system that ran through the Washington’s neighborhood had no backflow system and it would need to be fixed before contractors could start repairs on their home.

“They informed us that they had to order a special part in order to fix the sewer system themselves so that we would not have continued sewage backflow in the future,” Alexia says. “So we were waiting on them to get the part.”

Since July, Mississippi Municipal Service, the insurance company for the city of Winona has been paying for the women to stay in a hotel. But early last week, Alexia says they told her that would no longer be the case.

“They stated it was our fault that we did not get the home repaired in a reasonable amount of time,” she says. “But they were not accounting for the time we had to wait for the part to be fixed.”

The Washingtons say they would’ve had to leave the hotel Monday but some friends are paying for them to stay until Friday.

“There’s no words,” said a tearful Rebecca, when asked to describe her emotions. “To lose everything and then for them to just keep telling us one thing and doing another.”

The city says the issue is out of their hands and is solely between the insurance company and the Washingtons.

WCBI reached out to Mississippi Municipal Service and while one of their employees said they would call back, they have not responded at this time.

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