Rain, thawing floods some Robbins homes

December 29, 2008 3:31:34 PM PST
Some residents in south suburban Robbins are still not allowed to return home after flooding over the weekend.Left homeless after a flood in September, Brian Ballentine's family has once again had to split up as they seek shelter.

"When he flood in September, the roof messed up and the floor got ripped up, we got robbed. We've been homeless since," said Brian Ballentine, flood victim.

Ballentine has five children.

"The kids are bouncing from house to house. They say we can't bring the kids there, they don't want us there," said Iesha Ballentine, flood victim

The home is just one of several in Robbins that is trapped by flood waters, provoked by rain and melting snow. The village is now trying to pump them out.

"We were just trying to pump the area out of the area and give these people some relief so they can get in their homes or assess their damage," said Charles Calhoun, Robbins Public Works.

While some residents fled to the Red Cross shelter, village officials started the cleanup and tried to figure out how to solve the reoccurring problem by working with Cook County to complete creek maintenance and overflow.

"It made more water come this way. Not too much attention to maintenance in the previous 10 years," said Bernard Ward, Village of Robbins.

Vanessa Banks, whose house is still surrounded by water, is angry with town officials.

"They're trying to do something today because you guys are here. They don't care about nobody but their self. No. And it's the same. If you ask me, they need to close down the whole area and rebuild it," said Banks.

"We're doing everything we can within our power to try to get the homeowners back in their home. It may be necessary to keep the children over at the community center where they've been housed for the last three or four days," said Willie Carter, Robbins Village Trustee.

Village officials say they're still gathering estimates of damage and trying to finish their cleanup in this area and other areas that were also hit. Village officials are saying whatever those improvements that they need that they determine may cost in excess of a million dollars.

In the meantime, families like them are trying to figure out where they're going to live- and hope to get back into their homes as soon as possible.


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