HEARTLAND FLOOD: Attorneys help Paradise Lakes residents navigate flood recovery

Published: Apr. 8, 2019 at 4:23 PM CDT
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People renting homes hit by the flood said the road to recovery is confusing and unclear.

Dawn Lawson was renting a home at Paradise Lakes when the flood washed over the mobile park. Now, the entire park has to be demolished.

"Every time we go in there we have to face the fact that we've lost everything," she said.

Lawson expects to get a notice from the owners telling her to clean out her belongings or she won't get back her damage deposit. Several tenants have already received such a notice.

"How can we afford that?" she asked through tears. "We've just lost everything. They haven't been in contact with anyone else about anything... I mean, we're just lost?"

In addition to the financial concern is the concern about health. Officials warned people about taking proper precautions if they have to go into contaminated homes.

"I went in there and I've had a very bad cough and not feeling good since then. We had the masks on, but it's bad. It's just really bad," Lawson said.

Legal Aid of Nebraska hopes to help the tenants of Paradise Lakes.

"Any renter who has been displaced by the flood and is receiving communications from their landlord, or any demands from their landlords that are confusing or troubling, to talk to an attorney and reach out to us if they cannot afford an attorney," Attorney Scott Mertz said.

Mertz said residents of any property who are affected by the flood should reach out if they are unsure of what to do.

"If anyone doesn't qualify for our services, or we're not adequately addressing legal problems, we can perhaps place people with volunteer lawyers in the community," he said.

Lawson found some relief with Legal Aid of Nebraska, knowing she's on her way to navigating her way through recovery.

The owners of Paradise Lakes did not respond to a request for an interview.

For more information on receiving help recovering from the flood, visit the

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