Tina Giguere was looking for a fresh start. The newly single mom needed a home in Lebanon, a community where housing is pricy. “I didn’t want to be in a rundown apartment,” she says. Tina found an affordable unit at Rivermere Community Housing, a development managed by Twin Pines Housing Trust. The apartments had been developed in part with a $500,000 CDBG housing grant from CDFA.
Days after moving in, Tina lost power in a fierce thunderstorm. Rocks were bouncing off her back door. Rivermere’s residents were evacuated as flash flooding swept through several units and washed away a city street. Hours after residents left came the second wave: a mudslide bringing up to four feet of dirt and silt into the complex.
“If I had stayed, I don’t know what would have happened,” Tina says.
Meantime, Twin Pines’s staff was doing all they could to save the buildings. Property Manager Jeannie Gibson says, “We were digging trenches with our bare hands to divert the flooding.” Front doors, jammed shut by mud, were cleaved with axes to allow flood waters to pass through. When the weather cleared, Rivermere was uninhabitable.
The City of Lebanon and Twin Pines applied for a $170,000 emergency CDBG grant from CDFA to help with the recovery. With assistance from additional housing partners, Rivermere was rehabbed and reborn, complete with measures to safely redirect any future flooding.
Today, Rivermere residents share a bond that few do. “This is one of our strongest communities,” says Jeannie. “This is a success story – twice!”