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Storm Leaves Some Residents Homeless

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV 

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – About 800 homes were damaged by the storm that hit north Minneapolis on Sunday, and a lot of people in the community have been toughing it out despite roof damage and other damage.

But Tuesday afternoon, the city informed some of those folks that, like it or not, their house isn’t safe enough to live in anymore.

“They say we have to leave our house, our house is unsafe. But the man never checked the structure,” said DeWayne Thornton.

It has been two days since the tornado swept through Thornton’s neighborhood. He thought his house got lucky. But Tuesday afternoon a housing inspector stopped by with an orange sign that said the damage done to Thornton’s roof makes his house unlivable.

“But I am going to stay as long as I can and protect my stuff. Even though you have insurance, who wants people to take their stuff. Looters took some of my stuff on Sunday already,” said Thornton.

While Thornton is worried about looters, the city said it is worried about people living in unsafe conditions. Khamsook Yang’s house failed inspection too, so his family is going to be moving in with his uncle for a while.

“We feel sad and everything because we have been through a lot already,” said Yang.

The city is hoping to help people like Yang and others by opening a Disaster Recovery Center at Farview Park.

“It will be as much of a one stop shop as we can in a very complicated set of issues,” said Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

The Recovery Center will open at 9 a.m. and will provide everything from supplies, to food support and help getting prescription medications. There will also be on-site child care and school help for kids missing classes.

“We recognize that the recovery will involve on-going work with the people of this community and those resources need to be in the community,” said Rybak.

There is also the issue of what to do with all the downed trees. If they are on the boulevard, even the ones that were once on private property, the city will pick up that debris.

There are about 2,000 downed trees as a result of this tornado and the city will be picking up that debris, as long as it is placed on the boulevard, now through June 10.

Because a lot of people still don’t have power, volunteers will be going door to door to let people know about the Recovery Center located at 621 29th Avenue North. There will also be a picnic at the park on Saturday, which is open to the public.

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