A 96 -year-old World War II veteran who is facing eviction from his home due to storm damage as a result of Hurricane Irma is now being helped by his local community, Fox News recently reported.
Lucien “Chet” Lebrun was recently given an eviction notice for his mobile home in Winter Haven, Florida, at a retirement community after failing to make repairs to it.
Lebrun’s roof and outside of his mobile home suffered severe damage as a result of last year’s Hurricane Irma.
“When he opens the front door every morning, it’s wet,” his friend, Karen Bingham, told Fox News. “The floor is already rotting and soft.”
The community will begin the eviction process Friday, Bingham said.
Lebrun was denied help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover the cost of the repairs.
FEMA told Fox News they have provided around $1 billion in grants to Florida homeowners and renters for problems not covered by insurance. On many occasions, FEMA makes referrals to volunteer and charity organizations that help with hurricane recovery efforts.
Veterans Affairs and the Florida Department of Health think it is best if Lebrun entered an assisted-living facility.
“He was adamant that if he was forced to go into an assisted-living facility, he’d end up homeless,” Bingham said. “The VA claims he has severe dementia and that’s just not true. He’s very private, and he deserves to be treated better than he has been after all he’s done for this country.”
Lebrun has been living in his mobile home for the past five years with his cat named Kitty.
“They want me to fix the skirting and paint the house,” Lebrun said. “I can’t even walk.”
Lebrun said he served in the Army from 1941 to 1945. While serving in the Pacific, he suffered significant injuries to his shins.
“I spent three years in the jungle, fighting,” Lebrun said. “I never complain, but there’s not much I can do about it.”
A GoFundMe page was set up in November, then raising only a few thousand dollars. As of Wednesday, more than $25,000 had been raised for Lebrun.
And, two local businessmen offered to buy Lebrun a new mobile home in a retirement community.
“They contacted me this morning and said that the two of them would like to purchase him a new mobile home in the Hamptons here in Auburndale,” Bingham said.
Kai’s Mobile Home Movers owner Kai McCall offered to make renovations to his current mobile home free of charge while ABA Disaster Relief Ministry and American Legion Post 8 offered assistance.
Bingham said the plans are to hopefully move Lebrun to a new home by next week.