Bill could give relief to Louisa earthquake victims

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Earthquake victims in Louisa County still holding out hope FEMA will step in and pay for repairs.

Late Friday, Governor Bob McDonnell appealed FEMA's denial of disaster relief. Now State Senator Edd Houck is proposing tax credits for homeowners paying for repairs out of their own pockets.

It's estimated $22 million in damage was done to about 1400 homes. David Clark thought he found the home where he was going to retire. In just 18 seconds, his home in Louisa became a total loss.

"Every aftershock we've had, it's just gotten noticeably worse," Clark said.

Bricks are falling off his chimney and there are large cracks in the walls where you can see daylight shining inside.

For the last two months, he's been forced to move into his barn.

"It's not perfect," he said. "We're not sure what's going to happen when winter gets here."

He's one of many people in Louisa holding out hope FEMA will step up and help him get back on his feet.

"We don't know what we're going to do," Clark said. "We're just taking it day by day, hoping we get some help from FEMA."

Houck is proposing giving people like Clark a tax credit if he pays for repairs to his home out of pocket.

"What happened here in Louisa on August the 23rd could not have been predicted," he said.  "There was no way to know and these people's lives have been devastated and if the FEMA process doesn't work, the county and the state is going to step up."

Only people without earthquake insurance would be eligible. People would not get money to make improvements to their homes either.

For CLark, he says he's still hoping FEMA will change its mind, but if it doesn't, this tax credit can't hurt.

"The tax relief will help," Clark said. "Everything will help but down the road, as far as immediate assistance, we need a place to live."

FEMA has not ruled yet on McDonnell's appeal. It's worth noting, Houck is in a fierce re-election battle this fall with Republican Bryce Reeves.

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