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Ridgecrest single mother shares struggles six months after quakes

Some residents can't afford to repair damaged homes
Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-02 21:41:15-05

BAKERSFIELD, CA.  — It has been nearly six months since the double earthquakes rocked Ridgecrest. Many residents have moved on with their lives, but there are some people who say they still desperately need help.

Cristal Hernandez, 25, said her mobile home was knocked off its foundation and red tagged following the quakes.

"I don't know when it is going to be time to go home and it is hard because I don't want to lose that place, I don't. But, I feel like I am going to lose it," Hernandez said.

The single mother of three children is temporarily living with her brother as her home remains unsafe to live in.

Hernandez doesn't have earthquake insurance and said it would cost $8,000 to repair her home, money she doesn't have.

Kenneth Echeberry is with the Ridgecrest Lions Club, one of the many local organizations stepping up to help people get back on their feet.

"From providing food, rental assistance, to motel rooms and lifting homes like this one," Echeberry said.

But a lot of that responsibility has fallen on the backs of community members and local groups because Ridgecrest was denied federal financial assistance.

"FEMA's criteria for the amount of financial damage that is done wasn't exceeded," Echeberry said.

Considering the strength of the quakes, the city held up. Mayor Peggy Breeden said that's because a majority of Ridgecrest is up to current earthquake standards.

"If it would have been elsewhere, we would have had major damage," Breeden said.

Meantime, residents like Hernandez are dealing with major damage to the place they call home and forced to pay out of pocket for repairs.

Hernandez, like many others, continues putting on a brave face in the midst of adversity.

"The only reason I hold everything back is because of my kids, because I don't want them to see of think that something is going to happen again. I want to be strong for them," Hernandez said.

Ridgecrest Lions Club officials said they are still accepting money to help residents impacted by the earthquakes. However, you must specify for the money to go to earthquake relief. You can click here to donate.