LONG BEACH, NY (PIX11) – Six months after PIX 11 showed up on Michigan Street to find cars buried by sand, post-Sandy, the residential blocks may be clean again–but many homes are vacant.
Some 34,000 people lived in Long Beach, before Sandy, but about 25 percent of them haven’t been able to return home full-time.
Fences are laced with red tape and signs railing against FEMA, the federal agency that’s supposed to assist residents with disaster relief.
More than 58,000 homes in Nassau and Suffolk counties were damaged or destroyed by Sandy–and thousands of Long Islanders didn’t receive enough insurance money to get their homes re-done.
“Every time I hear the name ‘Sandy’ it makes me sick,” said Laura Spoto of Seaford, Long Island. She is raising the foundation of her small, waterfront home by about 14 feet, to comply with federal flood regulations. The canal behind her home overflowed and the waters surged into her house, but Spoto doesn’t want to leave the water.
In central Long Island, Town of Hempstead Supervisor, Kate Murray, told PIX 11 about 3,000 trees toppled onto cars, homes, and sidewalks during Sandy. Most have now been cleared.
Murray is waiving many town fees since the storm: if residents need to replace a damaged birth certificate, they don’t have to pay a $25 fee. If they need to fix their homes, Murray’s waiving a $2500 cost for a building permit.
It’s one town’s way of easing the pain for residents embroiled in bitter fights with insurance companies.
Small businesses are also fighting to come back, often with assistance from grass-roots groups like the “Pay It Forward Foundation”.