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Some Staten Island Residents Still Call Tent Community Home Months After Sandy

Nicole Chati: 'It's An Absolute Disgrace To Be Living In These Conditions'
(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Friday night’s snow added to the misery on Staten Island, where residents are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

It’s hard to believe there are still people living in tents three months after the storm made landfall, but that is what’s happening in New Dorp.

While this week’s unbearable weather was just temporary, the suffering in the borough is long-term, residents said.

For those living at a makeshift tent community in New Dorp, the snow and cold just added insult to injury for those trying to rebuild their lives.

Inside, storm victims gathered together Friday night with a television, a portable heater, donated food and their children.

“It’s an absolute disgrace, this is the greatest country in the world. It’s an absolute disgrace to be living in these conditions,” Nicole Chati told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Chati is in the tent community with her children and her neighbors, thankful for the help of volunteers who continue to keep it open.

“The government needs to step up, come down here, get professional people in here instead of passing the buck,” said volunteer Donna Graziano.

Now, the dead of winter has set in. The snow and cold have gripped the community. The suffering, though, stretches from one season to the next.

“It’s adding to the misery of it, but then in a couple of months you guys will be back and it’s gonna be the heat, the extreme heat and the mold growing. It’s gonna be a constant fight and a constant battle,” Chati said.

The donations to the tent community keep pouring in and volunteers said they’ll keep collecting them as long as there’s still a need, no matter the weather conditions outside.

Meanwhile, on the streets of Midland Beach, the Red Cross is still handing out blankets to storm victims in need.

“Yeah, trying to stay warm as much as possible. We don’t have no water, no heat yet,” Dave Hoge said.

And though the snow and cold have made things difficult, some Staten Islanders said it’s not the worst thing in the world.

“It doesn’t matter, I’ll take snow over water any day of the week now,” Robert Stark said.

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