Right now hundreds of Rockford homes are still mending damage from massive labor day floods. Now flood victims have to contend with another blow: the harsh arrival of winter.
The labor day flood waters knocked out walls and furnaces. Then the race began to repair those homes before winter starts seeping in the cracks and holes. Some were luckier than others.
The Macias suffered $30,000 in structure damage when flood waters knocked down a basement wall. They lost tens of thousands more in possessions, cars and appliances. Their house was condemned but they got to move home on Friday.
"We were working all this time trying to beat the winter and a week before the winter hits, our house was set. The day of the storm was the day we were moving in," says the Macias' son, Erick.
Erick and his father made all the repairs themselves, working tirelessly to get back home.
"Day after day, weekend after weekend, even he have to miss days of work because we wanted to be home before winter and thanks God we made it," says Erick's mother, Lourdes Macias.
They did the work themselves because insurance wouldn't cover all they needed. Like many families, the Macias have now pinned their hopes on federal aid from FEMA.
Erick says, "We can't help that we lost our valuables. We can't help that we're suffering but then again suffering is optional, FEMA has the option to help us."
The Red Cross did pay for the family to live in an apartment for three months, but it was cramped quarters for a six-person family.
"That was very sad for me but like I said for now, it's my best present for Christmas to be home again," says Lourdes.
Above the cracks, the words "This house is blessed" hang on the wall and that's just how the Macias feel to be home.
Not everyone on the Macias' street in Churchill Park is so fortunate. Just two houses up a house remains condemned. The Macias say those neighbors will likely have to give up their home.
FEMA is currently reviewing the city's appeal for federal assistance. FEMA officials have not yet said when they will make or announce their final decision.