Many homes in the Belvedere area have yet to be repaired, but some people stayed even after the damage was done in the 2015 flooding. (Photo by Chris Newman/Carolina News and Reporter)

A hurricane struck the heart of the Midlands in October 2015.

Hundreds of homes were affected, flooded and destroyed because heavy rainfall overwhelmed streets and yards. 

Rep. Leon Howard, D-Richland, is helping to bring relief to the Belvedere neighborhood, which was overlooked during the city of Columbia’s initial cleanup.

Homes are being cleaned and repaired in the neighborhood and other communities in the area. The city is using $4 million from its housing program that’s part of a $13.5 million federal disaster recovery grant.

“Twenty homes are already completed, and we’re doing 20 more,” said Howard, who’s working with City Council members on the project.

Cleanup started immediately eight years ago in the Rosewood, Lake Katherine, South Beltline and Gills Creek areas.

Howard said it’s about time the cleanup made its way to Belvedere.

The neighborhood consists of primarily elderly minority residents, Howard said.

“The Greenview and Belvedere areas were greatly impacted but not addressed by the city,” he said.

Greenview, just north of Belvedere, will get help next, Howard said.

Bridget Deline, who lives in Howard’s district and has worked with him on other projects, said communities like Belvedere are often neglected. 

“Fortunately, Representative Howard came out and alerted the city to help out the community,” Deline said.

Belvedere Neighborhood President Diane Wiley moved out of her home when the flood hit.

“I had to stay with my mom 55 miles away, but I made it work,” Wiley said.

She moved back into her Belvedere home at the beginning of October after the city repaired the damage on her property.

Wiley has lived in Belvedere for 40 years. Before the flooding, she already was working to return the neighborhood to the glory she remembers when she moved in.

Her major concern, still, is the collection of ditches in the area. They fill up with water and cause flooding in the streets and, sometimes, in homes.

The water level in 2015 rose 3 feet at her home. Other homes in the neighborhood had a similar experience.

Some homes still have mold because of flood damage, Wiley said.

People living in the areas simply haven’t known what to do to get help, Howard said.

Mostly, they need help filling out the paperwork so their property can be addressed, Howard said.

Howard said he had volunteers help residents fill out the forms.

He said his plan for the future is to seek more money any way he can.

Standing water routinely fills ditches surrounding homes in the neighborhood and floods properties and streets. (Photo by Chris Newman/Carolina News and Reporter)

The Belvedere neighborhood was annexed into the city in 1996. It is located near the intersection of Beltline Boulevard and Two Notch Road. (Graphic by City of Columbia GIS Division/Carolina News and Reporter)

Residents of Belvedere and neighboring communities often find trash piles on the side of the road. Every week, Wiley has to clean trash that floats into the ditch beside her house, she said. (Photo by Chris Newman/Carolina News and Reporter)