LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bloomberg says some 40,000 New Yorkers were left homeless because of Superstorm Sandy. For most, especially those in the middle and upper income levels, it was a shocking condition.
Until last week, the Koff family of Long Beach was living the American dream, with a gorgeous home on Reynolds Channel — and then sandy happened, pushing three feet of water into their home, and upending their lives.
“We’ve been attacked by Sandy, and it’s destroyed a lot of people’s lives,” Barry Koff told CBS 2’s Don Dahler on Monday. “You know, the 57 years of living here, it was beautiful, but after this I don’t know if it’s worth it. You know, dealing with this is very hard,” Koff said.
The house Koff built is still standing, but it was badly damaged, and is not livable. His family was staying with friends.
The family grocery store suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do. We don’t have flood insurance because the store’s never been flooded,” Koff said.
And their neighborhood was changed, maybe forever.
When asked if he ever imagined himself in this situation, being basically homeless, Koff said, “Yes [but] no, this is not what I expected.”
It was not what a lot of people expected. The Koffs joined tens of thousands of new homeless.
There were rumors FEMA would be sending trailers, like the ones used after Hurricane Katrina, to provide temporary housing, but the head of the agency said it would not bring those infamous trailers to this area. He said there were enough hotel rooms and apartments to house the homeless.
The Koffs, at least, have some savings to fall back on, but the experience shook them to the core.
“I don’t have a job. I don’t have a business. I don’t have a house,” Barry Koff said.
And if what they had was the American dream, then the scene in Long Beach was, perhaps, the opposite.
A few miles west in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the appointment of a director of housing recovery operations to oversee all New Yorkers displaced by Sandy.
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