Rebuilding suburban homes months after experiencing a tornado

The damage from tornadoes can last for months. Here is some of the aftermath in Naperville roughly six months later:

Photo by Kelly L on Pexels.com

There may never be a full recovery for dozens of Naperville residents continuing to struggle in the wake of a devastating tornado that tore through sleepy neighborhoods shortly after 11 p.m. June 20, leaving one house destroyed and more than 200 damaged in an area just south of 75th Street…

Six months later, they and so many others continue to deal with slow-responding insurance companies, negligent contractors, supply-chain issues and a city government that’s never grappled with the long-term effects of devastation on this scale…

Some homeowners are simply choosing to sell for the value of the land. Others are dedicated to rebuilding no matter how long it takes…

City officials say they understand the frustration in the neighborhoods and acknowledge the difficulty in assessing resident needs. They’ve tried to expedite the permitting process — waiving fees is being considered if it directly benefits homeowners and not the insurance companies — and they suspended charging residents for utilities.

The feat of building suburban subdivisions can be impressive in its own right. When the mass construction of neighborhoods occurred regularly after World War Two, it represented a change to how housing was built.

Reconstructing suburban subdivisions might be a more difficult task. Rebuilding numerous homes and reconstructing daily lives amid normal suburban life is not easy. The advantage of building a whole subdivision at once is that all of the equipment, materials, and labor can be in place at the same time. When some homes are destroyed and damaged, it sounds like efforts are more scattered or focused on particular properties.

Since suburbs do experience tornadoes at least semi-regularly in the United States, is there a set of best practices communities and residents can follow? Putting homes and life back together after a calamity is never easy but perhaps there are clearer paths to resiliency.

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