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Tornado survivors navigate through a maze of permits and inspections while they work to rebuild

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 10, 2024

ELKHORN, Neb. (KMTV) — One Ramblewood neighbor has gone through several inspections waiting to make repairs. The city of Omaha says not many permits have been pulled so far, but all fees are exempt for tornado survivors.

  • Nichole Peringer's home looks intact, but if repairs aren't made soon her house could collapse in on itself.
  • “Here I am in the beginning of June and I still… I still cry and I still kind of feel these feelings and then there’s that anxiety of ‘is your home going to be okay? Are people going to do their due diligence and do the right thing?’”
  • The city says the planning department needs to allow people the opportunity to work through their insurance, but Nichole says the process has been slow and frustrating.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

From the outside, this house looks intact, but when we take a closer look lasting damage from the April 26th tornado. In Ramblewood one family is fighting, like many others, to get back to normal as they work through the rebuilding process.

“Here I am in the beginning of June and I still… I still cry and I still kind of feel these feelings and then there’s that anxiety of ‘is your home going to be okay? Are people going to do their due diligence and do the right thing?’”

While her kids color, Nichole Peringer forgets just for a moment the work that remains

“The roof needs to be done, the gutters are gone, and the home is constantly shifting,” she said.

Just a week after the tornado hit Nichole submitted a claim with her insurance yet still, nothing has been repaired.

The adjuster came out, then a contractor:

“Then the next week and a half we had another contractor come, then we had a structural engineer come and assess the property, then we had a third contractor come,” said Nichole.

Because while her home looks okay, it could collapse if repairs aren't made soon.

While all these people have come through to assess her home, Nichole says they're still miles away from having their contractor apply for permits, which is needed if any work on the house is to be done.

We spoke to the city to get a sense of where many survivors are in this process and to learn what kind of help is available.

"We want them to rebuild. We do not want a vacant subdivision that's not good for anybody in the community,” said Ana Bespoyasny.

Superintendent of Permits and Inspections Ana Bespoyasny tells me not many permits have been pulled yet, but all fees are exempt for tornado survivors.

“Everybody here knows that the people that have been impacted from the tornado, that we need to deal with them respectfully, courteously. We need to deal with them immediately,” says Bespoyasny.

The city says part of the issue is that the planning department needs to allow people the opportunity to work through their insurance, but as Nichole has noticed it's been a slow and frustrating process and she’s learned to advocate for herself.

“I’ve never been one to assume the worst about people and I still won’t, but I also know that you are also the only person ensuring the equity in your home,” said Nichole.