Promises, Promises: Woman can’t get help as home slowly sinks into hole caused by Sandy

Posted at 11:42 PM, May 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-01 23:47:33-04

FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (PIX11) – Far Rockaway, NY- When Superstorm Sandy struck, Jennifer Phanton, along with her daughter and granddaughter evacuated from their Far Rockaway home, just as they did during Irene.  This time her instinct was right.  Sandy was more powerful and the damage to her home more devastating.

“I never in my wildest dreams ever thought when I came back the whole backyard would be gone,” said Phanton.

But that’s exactly what happened and it is the damage 6 months later the Phanton family is most concerned about. The backyard appears to be sinking, eroding away with every tide from the Jamaica Bay, just a few feet from the home she has happily lived in for 15 years.

“Its scary.  I don’t want my house to go floating off.  I don’t want it to collapse,” said Phanton.

Phanton also happens to be a registered nurse, who went on disability in 2009.  She has lived on a fixed income, and supported her daughter and 11 year old granddaughter.  Overwhelmed, Phanton said she filed with FEMA and received assistance for temporary housing in the immediate aftermath of the storm and just two weeks ago received a check for $1600, not nearly enough to cover the estimated $70 to $80 thousand cost it will take to repair her massive sinkhole.

Phanton also reached out to Congressman Gregory Meeks office, where she was referred to the office’s congressional liason.  However, her treatment there, Phanton said was nothing short of appalling.

The one agency, who has helped Phanton was Catholic Charities. The organization has worked with Phanton for months and said while her options with FEMA and her insurance company has run out, they are currently pursuing applications with several not-for-profit groups to get more funds for repairs.

Congressman Meeks’ office, in the meantime, denied ever receiving any calls from Phanton but said now that the issue has been brought to their attention, they will look into Phanton’s case and follow up to try to find her a resolution.