Flood affected family gets pride back

Jessica Sharpe and son Adam
Jessica Sharpe and son Adam - Photo by Lynda J Henshell
Jessica Sharpe and son Adam
Jessica Sharpe and son Adam – Photo by Lynda J Henshell

THUNDER BAY – On June 6, 2012 the Sharpe family, Jessica, Micheal, and young son Adam were forced to move out of their home because of soft soil causing their house to shift. Fortunately the Sharpe family have supportive relatives who have opened their doors and done as much as they could for the flood stricken family. “Our family and friends are what have kept us going, without them, we’d be lost” said Jessica.

Sharpe home
Sharpe home getting new solid foundation and leveling – Photo by Lynda J. Henshell

After finding out the repairs to their home would not be covered by the insurance company, Jessica launched a Facebook plea in July. “My family and I have been out of our home since June 6th due to our house sinking due to the heavy ground water from the flooding in the East End. We have gone through our insurance company and they have told us we ‘Don’t qualify’ as our house only had ‘ground water’ and not ‘sewage’”. This plea led to a lot of support for Jessica and her family on the social networking site.

Now almost two months later, the Sharpe family has begun the rebuilding of their home. “We met with another contractor who told us exactly how to fix the foundation, walked through it step by step, told us what materials to use and which permits we needed. We then went and talked to Engineers from the City Building Department and received the proper building code rules and confirmed the need of permits… Then we started the work ourselves. It hasn’t been an easy job,” said Jessica. “My hubby and father-in-law have been going four weeks straight with no days off, as they both work full time jobs on top of this… they’re starting to burn out”.

Sharpe home -2

“The work that has been completed is putting ‘wooden cribbing’ on the sides of the house, then using six twenty-ton bottle jacks and slowly raise the house while leveling it and putting in more wooden ‘cribbing’ in place. The result is a level house,” shared Jessica.

The repairs have cost the family about fifteen hundred dollars of their own money so far. “We are basically living paycheck to paycheck, no extras, we have budgeted and meal-planned to stretch our money as far as possible. we are keeping everything as low cost as possible and with my Uncle’s (and his employers Precision Wood) we were able to get a bit of wood at a good price”.

With the work not yet completed the family estimates it will cost them about three or four thousand dollars by the end of it. “We still have to purchase skirting and insulation”.

Sharpe Home 3
New foundations cemented into place to help level home. Photo by Lynda J. Henshell

What the family needs now is volunteer “man power and people to help dig the holes and put in posts”. They will also need help putting on the skirting but Jessica says “that’s about three weeks away.”

The best new for this family occurred when a structural engineer from the Safe Homes Program came and inspected the work done over the last few weeks. He declared the house once again safe to live in since it has been properly cribbed and leveled. Since hearing this news Jessica says “I go every day and put another room together, hopefully by the weekend we’ll be fully in.”

In the meantime Jessica says “We’ve been working in crews of 3-6 people, mostly made up of family and friends but a couple neighbors and one family of strangers who answered my Facebook post came out”.

The entire ordeal has stressed Jessica and her family but she offers these words of advice to others in her situation, “Waiting! That’s the worst part… stop waiting, get out there and see what you can do to help yourself or others that still need it. Ask people for help, don’t just wait for them to come to you… it’s very empowering seeing what you can accomplish on your own… My husband and I are tired, but at the end of it we can say ‘We did it ourselves, with a lot of help from our friends’!! It gives us our pride back!”

Sharpe home -5
Securing foundations under the home. Photo by Lynda J. Henshell

If you’d like to help the Sharpe family please email Jessica at jmlsharpe@gmail.com or contact her on her Facebook page.

Lynda Henshell

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