‘We want answers:’ Good Samaritan Village residents, in limbo over flooding, consider legal action

A town hall will be held on Monday

Many from Good Samaritan Village were forced from their homes following heavy flooding from Hurricane Ian, and they're now wondering when they can return.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Cheryl Borneman’s 98- year old aunt had been living at Good Samaritan Village for 38 years up until she was evacuated the day before Hurricane Ian struck.

“We want answers,” Borneman said. “This is the second time since 2017, this being much worse. She’s already been in two different shelters and her second hotel.”

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Borneman’s aunt is among the displaced residents who still don’t know when they can go back to their homes because the mandatory evacuation order has not been lifted.

“Nobody knows who’s making the decisions so we all hanging waiting you know,” said Ray Rodriguez, a resident of Good Samaritan Village in Kissimmee.

Rodríguez said he is frustrated after the home he bought in May was damaged by floodwaters from Hurricane Ian.

“We’re all in limbo. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. We don’t know who’s going to pay for the damage,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said his frustration is with the management team at Good Samaritan Society who he said failed to mention his house was in a flood zone prior to him paying $70,000 for it.

“They didn’t care about us. The only thing they care, Good Samaritan always did care, about money,” the 75-year-old said.

Rodriguez’s house is located in one of the six neighborhoods that, according to Good Samaritan Society, will not be restored for now.

When asked what will happen to his house, Rodriguez told News 6 right now all he can do is wait.

“Don’t know yet. Gotta wait for FEMA to come in and I gotta wait for the lawyers what they’re going to do with the insurance company,” Rodriguez said.

However, Rodriguez said he’s considering legal action and is in touch with the nonprofit, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida.

“There is not necessarily a particular lawsuit done. We have probably three, four dozen residents that we’ve already met with,” Jeff Harvey, the CEO of CLSMF said.

Harvey said it’s too early to know who is at fault for the major flooding issues at Good Samaritan village, and they’re in the process of gathering information.

“As we continue to learn more and more from each of the residents, we see that there could be a couple of different lawsuits based on their different statuses. Some are owners and some have bought into potential long-term nursing homes in long-term care facilities,” Harvey said.

In a statement, the VP of operations for Good Samaritan Society said they are working with residents to obtain assistance and resources through FEMA, the Red Cross and other agencies — and communicating with residents about relief programs such as transitional shelter assistance, which allows them to book hotel accommodations.

The Good Samaritan Village Town Hall will be Monday, Oct. 24 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Osceola County Housing and Community Services Building located at 1392 E Vine Street in Kissimmee.

The county will have resources from our local resources federal counterparts, including FEMA, Insurance and Community Legal Services and Osceola Council on Aging and Senior Resource Alliance.

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About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.