Frustrated Superstorm Sandy Victims Seek Answers In Belle Harbor
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of Superstorm Sandy victims in the Rockaways filled a church Wednesday night looking for help and answers from officials, but many walked away even more frustrated.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider and 1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reported, it was standing room only at St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor, as a crowd gathered to hear from representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Long Island Power Authority, the mayor’s office, and other agencies.
1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr reports
Six weeks after Sandy, the Belle Harbor community was rallying together. Their streets and homes torn apart by the storm, they were looking for help navigating through the paperwork and red tape, trying to secure money and relief.
“There’s nobody to help us, and when you call the city, they pass you over here,” said Lily Corcoran. “Nobody give us an answer.”
So Corcoran showed up the meeting to get answers, but said she still felt ignored.
“This is a horror situation out here, and we feel like the city has just tossed us to the side and no one is doing anything for us,” Corcoran said, adding that she did not feel like she got any answers Wednesday night. “It’s the same thing I’ve been getting when I call on the phone.”
Officials stressed it is a long process, and they were urging patience. Everyone who spoke up inside was taken into tents to get their questions answered more thoroughly.
“We’re going to stay here until we get their questions answered,” said Mike Byrne of FEMA. “And if we can’t do it — you know, because FEMA can’t do everything; it’s a whole community effort — but we’ll help them to connect them with non-profits that might help them, the Small Business Administration that could give them low-interest loan. Whatever it takes, whatever we can possibly do, we’re going to make sure we give it all we’ve got.”
Drawing big applause at the meeting was Nick Bruzzese’s gripe about the city’s newly formed “Rapid Repairs Program.” He has decided to come out of retirement so he can replenish the $50,000 he spent to clean his home, while at the same time said he sees people getting free repairs from the city.
“I’m not going to sit around waiting for the government to help me. That’s not me,” he said. “But now I see the government coming out handing out money. That money they’re handing out is my money!”
The aggravation was shared by many, who hoped the government would listen.
Officials stressed there are many programs through FEMA and the Small Business Administration to get people money and loans to get back on their feet.
Are you frustrated by officials’ performance after Sandy? Leave your comments below…