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June 28, 2012

2011 flooding: Forced to evacuate

(Continued)

“A lot of people lost everything they had,” said  Reginald “Reggie” Defoe, who lived at Lakeside with Beshon. 

A second-floor resident, Beshon was able to save most of her possessions; however, much of her food perished after the power was shut off. 

Her father, then 83, lived on the first floor of the complex at the time of the flooding.

“He lost everything,” Beshon said. 

HOUSING EXPENSIVE

Lakeside residents, many of whom were recipients of public assistance, were forced to take up temporary residence at the American Red Cross shelter set up at Crete Memorial Civic Center in Plattsburgh until they could figure out what to do next.

Many had pets, and the Red Cross accommodated them, too.

Beshon said area motels — which also tailor rents for those reliant on help from Social Services — became homes for many after the shelter closed. And some some of them still reside there. 

She, on the other hand, bounced around to the houses of various family members until finally securing another apartment in Plattsburgh with Defoe. 

“In a way, I think it’s better, and in a way I don’t,” Beshon said of her new abode. 

At Lakeside, she paid $500 a month, which included rent, utilities and even cable television. 

“One person can afford that and then have enough to make it the rest of the month,” Defoe said. 

Now, the couple, who rely on their Social Security incomes to get by, pay $625 a month for just their rent. 

“It’s hard now for, you know, a single person to find a place in this town that’s cheap enough to live,” Defoe said. “You can’t.

“If we’re not together, then forget it,” he said of himself and Beshon. “Neither one of us can afford an apartment.

“Us poor people, we’ve got to get people to combine together just to survive.”

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