Housing crisis part 2: from one tragedy to another

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With few affordable housing options left many are being priced out of the area. That was the case for one man who, like many, lost his home in the hurricane.

In the second installment of our housing series, we hear one man's story of overcoming tragedy twice in a year after not being able to find an affordable housing option close to town. (WJHG/WECP)

Sixty-eight percent of homes in the county were damaged as a result of Hurricane Michael. One of those belonged to Christian Henderson.

"So we came back to everything in shambles. Any memories, pictures, you know, my children's awards that had been on the wall for years, everything was just demolished," said Henderson

He was a Panama City resident until Hurricane Michael blew down the walls of his home and with it, priceless memories.

"One day I was just going through Facebook and I saw that somebody had two acres of land for $40,000 or something so for what I could pay for a hundred by hundred lot with no utilities I was just fortunate enough to find somebody that wanted to sell their property," Henderson said.

So he and his two children packed up what was left and moved into an RV on a plot of land farther away in Southport. But as Henderson and his family began this new chapter tragedy struck again.

Henderson said, "My son was running late for work but he came and was like, 'Dad, I'm running late for work, gotta go, I love you,' and I was lucky enough to be able to tell him 'I love you too, be careful'. So at that point he heads off to work and Lynn Haven Police Department gives me a call and I thought that was weird but the officer comes out and he told me that my son had been in an accident and he hadn't made it."

Henderson wonders if his son's new route to work from Southport played a part in his passing.

"The truth is that where we were he would have had a complete different route... complete different route. He would have simply went down [Highway] 231 to 23rd [Street] and been there in five minutes. He would have never, never had that commute," he said.

When asked if that knowledge weighs on him Henderson said, "It does, it does. But accepting the fact that the hurricane has destroyed lives, homes, businesses--there's just an acceptance that you've kind of got to deal with."

But he is still left wondering if something as little as a new commute to work is what altered the course of his family's life.

When asked what his son's message today would be, Henderson said, "Take care of each other, love one another because money is only money and your family is it all."

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