'It literally feels like a refugee camp': power cut to social housing units as people recover from storm

Hundreds of people in social housing units woke up without power for the third day as they work to empty basements following this weeks flooding.

Power was cut off on Tuesday because of safety concerns and could be turned back on tonight

Antonia Shaker stands beside some of the brand new appliances and furniture that his family has thrown out because of the flooding. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

Hundreds of people living in townhouses that include social housing units in south Walkerville woke up Thursday morning for their third straight day without power after this week's heavy rainfall flooded dozens of townhouse units. 

"It literally feels like a refugee camp," said Sibel Guney, who describes the smell inside her home as toxic.

Guney has lost her mother's photo albums in the flood — countless memories waterlogged in the waist-high water that poured into her basement on Tuesday. 

Sibel Guney explains what it feels like living in an a home with no power for days. 0:45

Power was cut off to the units that same day and has not been turned on since. Guney said property management Labour Sponsored Community Development Group offered to put people in a hotel room while the power was out.

"They put us at the Super 8, very grateful for that," said Guney, who was told to expect the power to come back on Thursday night. 

Guney is not optimistic electricity will be restored. She has had to take two days off of work to empty out her basement and look after her daughter while the neighbourhood tries to recover. 

'We'll be okay'

Next door, a washer, dryer and fridge sit on Maryann LaFlamme's lawn, a reminder of what she's lost in this week's flood. 

"All my clothes were floating downstairs," said LaFlamme. "All my memorabilia of my childhood, my daughter's childhood are gone."

As people sift through the damage they're starting to realize what the flooding has destroyed. 0:55

She said the neighbourhood has banded together to help each other empty basements, but residents still have a long way to go before things are back to normal.

LaFlamme, whose daughter has a disability and is in a day camp this week, has been staying with family instead of her powerless home.

She's already hearing from her insurance company that she won't be covered for the items she lost. 

Family affair

Antonio Shaker should be spending the final few days of his summer getting ready to head back to high school. Instead, he's emptying some of his family's most prized possessions from a destroyed basement. 

"This weekend we were supposed to go out — me and my brother — actually go for the last time to the United States and have some fun," said Shaker. "But this happened so now we have to stay here."

The Shaker family lost brand new furniture, appliances and clothes in the flooding. 1:15

Shaker's been helping his family sift through the damage for the last three days. Brand new, unwrapped furniture sits on the lawn, dripping wet and heading for the garbage. 

He was quick to heap praise on his neighbours for coming together during the difficult time. 

"It's not just us around here," said Shaker. "There's a lot of people losing things around here. It's not just this neighbourhood. There's about 70 houses here and each one of them probably has very important things they've lost here. So we pray for them."

Quick response

Everyone without power was offered accommodations at a hotel, paid for by the Labour Sponsored Community Development Group.

"We assisted the tenants as best as we can," said executive director Anna Angelidis. "Our social workers were on site. They went to every single unit to see how everyone was doing."

Warm meals were provided by the Salvation Army to people in flooded houses each day, along with food donated by the Unemployed Help Centre. Milk was donated by the Downtown Mission and the management group bought pizza for everyone on Thursday. 

Angelidis said they're trying to do their best helping people as they start the recovery process. 

"Even though we encourage people to purchase contents insurance, a lot of them don't," said Angelidis.

She said power should be back by 5 p.m. on Thursday.