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EXCLUSIVE: Washington Dysfunction Devastating Those With Flood Insurance

NYC Resident: I Paid In For 40 Years, But Now Cannot Fix My Ravaged Home
The scene inside Clifford Fusco's New Dorp, Staten Island home is not pretty, but his angst has been multiplied by the federal government's inaction because his flood insurance has not been allowed to kick in. (Photo: CBS 2)

The scene inside Clifford Fusco’s New Dorp, Staten Island home is not pretty, but his angst has been multiplied by the federal government’s inaction because his flood insurance has not been allowed to kick in. (Photo: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — On Friday, Congress will finally vote on the first bit of aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy. That won’t be soon enough for thousands of people, including a Staten Island man who is left out in the cold.

CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer went to his home on Thursday to show you what could have happened to anyone.

Other than memories, one of the only things Sandy didn’t destroy in Clifford Fusco’s home is a toy horse from his boyhood, and he’s grateful for that.

“You just push down on the pedals, it goes forward, and then you go up and down and ride forward,” Fusco said.

What he’s not grateful for – in fact, he’s downright angry is the inaction in Washington that has prevented him from getting his money from the National Flood Insurance Program so that he can fix his family’s storm-ravaged home in the New Dorp section of the borough.

“I know one thing … I paid for 40 years. I paid them every month for my flood insurance,” Fusco said. “I’m sure if I didn’t pay one payment they would be on my case about not paying that one payment.”

Fusco has already depleted his savings to tear out the floors, insulation and sheet rock damaged by flood waters, and to install a new electric system in his gutted house. However, until the feds come though he said he can’t afford to replace the heating system. The unconnected pipes that went to the old boilers stand as a grim reminder that, so far, he’s on the government’s list of forgotten victims.

“I’m sure if it happened to them they’d be the first ones to cry,” Fusco said. “My parents put a lot into this house, worked their whole life, you know? It’s not fair ‘because I paid my insurance. I could see if I didn’t have insurance. Maybe if I didn’t have insurance it would be better. FEMA would come running over here to do something.”

Nobody knows when the logjam in Washington will break up, but every day Fusco goes to his mailbox to see if the check is in the mail.

The new flood insurance bill will allocate $9.7 billion to the program. If it passes the House it will still have to be passed by the Senate, and then it’s unclear how long it will take for the money to get to storm victims.

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