HEARTLAND FLOOD: Displaced flood victims given deadline to get out of shelter

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Flood victims staying at the First Baptist Church shelter in Bellevue have less than two weeks to find a home.

A sign was posted on the doors of the shelter Monday, stating the shelter will be closing on April 29.

Miguel Arce was among the more than 35 people still staying at the shelter, who felt panicked by the news.

“Kind of desperate (feeling)... the thing is... we need to find a place," Arce said.

Like other people staying at the shelter, Arce was told it would stay open as long as it was needed. But Pastor Carl Hubbert said he's been in talks with FEMA and other emergency agencies - and they agree it's time to shut it down.

“There’s certain things they can get and receive as far as help as an evacuee, once they get of the temporary shelter, so there are benefits to them to be moving on," Hubbert said.

But moving on isn't so easy. The flood's aftermath has saturated the housing market.

Gina Hasse is the office manager at a local property management company. She's tasked with sifting through the waiting list.

"There are about 23 still left on the list," Hasse said. "And we started getting that list just a couple days after the flood and there's still quite a few people on that list."

Affordability is another potential roadblock. The flood victims staying at the shelter were residents of the Green Acres mobile home park. They didn't pay more than $1,200 a month in rent.

The reality is that finding something affordable is going to difficult.

"I don't know if I want to use the word crisis, but this is a close to a crisis as you get," Carolyn Pospisil, Executive Director of the Bellevue Housing Authority said.

She said there was already a shortage of affordable housing in Sarpy County and the flood has only made it worse.

"The families that have been able to find housing so far are the ones who had the means to do it pretty quick. And the one who didn't are unfortunately kind of in a bind," Pospisil said.

With next to no options in the Bellevue area, people are having to consider other communities. It's a tough idea to accept when your life is in Bellevue.

"We need to find a place close to school for my kid, for my job, my wife's job and that's hard because all the rent here is expensive," Arce said. "And like I say, that's a big problem and we only have two weeks to solve it."

The church said they won't put people out on the street. Under exceptional circumstances, flood victims will be able to stay at the church.