OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Almost nine months since the massive flooding brought in by Hurricane Ian, and demolition at Good Samaritan Village is underway.
Maureen Kotch and Lucille Bishop have been living a rollercoaster of emotions ever since Hurricane Ian devastated Central Florida, having to start from scratch well into their 70s.
“I thought I was handling it well, but unfortunately, I’m not. I’m not handling it, just not handling it well,” Bishop said as she fought back tears.
Bishop and Kotch, both New York natives, moved to Good Samaritan Village in Kissimmee two months before Hurricane Ian.
“We tried so hard. I’m sorry, we tried so hard to be in a safe place where we wanted to spend the rest of our lives, and it was just gone,” Kotch said with a broken voice.
It was supposed to be a place they could afford to live the rest of their golden years.
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“We were happy there. We were getting comfortable, and you know, we were only there two months, but, you know, we decided this is home. This is good,” Bishop recalled.
Kotch said when they signed the lease to their two-bedroom apartment in Good Samaritan Village, they were not advised to get flood insurance.
“When we asked about flooding, they didn’t give us a choice whether to stay and sign lease or to get flood insurance. They took that option away from us when they told us it wasn’t that bad,” Kotch said.
On Sept. 28, their lives were turned upside down — losing all their belongings when their apartment flooded with about 6 feet of water.
“We were not prepared for what we saw, and we thought we could salvage more than we did. It was just like everything was gone… everything,” Kotch said.
Bishop and Kotch are among the hundreds of residents who could not go back to their homes after Good Samaritan Society deemed more than 500 units unsafe.
“They’re cancer survivors. They lost all the specialized clothing for their prosthetics. We’re not asking for speculative damages. We’re asking for things that they actually lost,” Jeffrey Hussey, director of Community Legal Services of Mid Florida said.
Hussey represents Maureen and Lucille in a lawsuit filed against Good Samaritan and Sanford Health.
“We’ve filed a negligence action against (Good Samaritan) as well as taken advantage of vulnerable adults,” Hussey told News 6. “They lost all their worldly possessions, their lifelong possessions. Irreplaceable things.”
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