More than a year after post-tropical storm Fiona made landfall on Prince Edward Island, a couple is still living in an RV with eight of their children.
The family wants to be able to move back into their New Dominion, PEI home, but restoration work can’t start until they get the go-ahead from their insurance company.
“It’s been really tough for our kids. They just want to go home. They just want their toys. They just want to be able to sleep in their own bed and have that normalcy of being home,” said Effie Able.
She and her husband, Justin, had converted a former church into the family home. There, they lived with their 10 children — and filled it with laughter and memories.
But on the night of Sept. 23, 2022, Fiona came roaring into town.
“We heard a huge noise and we knew right away that we lost part of our roof. We actually thought it was the bell tower, so we ran to the windows to look outside to see if we could see anything,” said Effie.
Now, the home sits abandoned — creaking in the wind with shattered glass on the floor.
The Ables have a contractor on standby, but the work can’t start yet.
“You pull up and it looks abandoned the property, not just the inside, but the outside, the yard. Everything about it looks abandoned. And that’s how I feel they’ve done to us,” said Justin.
The insurance company has told the family they have a “complex” case, and last spoke to the company about three weeks ago in regards to their file.
Global News reached out to TD Insurance for comment, but the company said on Tuesday they would not speak to the specifics of the case.
In January, the Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated insured damages from Fiona had reached over $800 million. The association went on to say that Hurricane Fiona was the most costly extreme weather event ever recorded in Atlantic Canada.
Meanwhile, the Able family has been living in various rentals over the past year until they exhausted the living expenses allowed by their insurance policy in July. With two of their children off to university, they are living with the remaining eight in an RV.
While they credit their faith and their community for helping them get through their struggles, things haven’t been easy.
Now, winter is approaching and they say they’re impatient waiting for answers.
“Every time we move, it’s kind of like starting over and there’s things you have to replace, the things you have to do,” said Justin.
“It’s just weighed us down.”