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EXCLUSIVE: Long Beach Woman ‘Fed Up’ With Feds Wraps Storm-Damaged Home In Red Tape

Kinsley Won't Accept Buyout, Plans To Fight For Funds She Says She's Owed
Samantha Kinsley's Long Beach home symbolically wrapped in red tape (credit: CBS 2)

Samantha Kinsley’s Long Beach home symbolically wrapped in red tape (credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One Long Beach family, fed up with the government’s response to Superstorm Sandy, has decided to send a powerful message to the feds.

It has been 100 days since Sandy destroyed the Kinsley family’s home, leaving it a gutted, unlivable skeleton.

“I promised my kids I’d stop crying every day. I can’t make it,” Samantha Kinsley told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan exclusively on Tuesday.

Kinsley said she has had to jump what she calls excessive bureaucratic hurdles to try to access funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and insurance companies.

Kinsley said she has been so fed up by the nightmarish situation that she and her neighbors literally wrapped her home in reams of red tape, a sarcastic symbol of unhappiness directed at federal agencies.

“It’s been over three months and people are still fighting everything from insurance to the government,” one neighbor told CBS 2’s McLogan.

“The insurance and the banks won’t release the funds that we’d paid for,” another fed-up neighbor said.

Other Long Beach residents said they’ve faced similar frustrations in dealing with the government for assistance.

FEMA’s going to throw us out of the hotel next week,” a neighbor told McLogan.

As McLogan reported, FEMA said they are listening to the complaints and working as quickly and fairly as they can.

Kinsley said she has dotted every I and crossed every T to comply with FEMA and insurance companies.

But she said she was suddenly informed that because her home did not wash away, she will get a check for $81,000 despite the fact that she was insured for more than three times that amount.

“They told me, ‘you’ll never see the $250,000.’ I said, ‘that’s what we paid for.’ They said ‘that’s not how it works,'” Kinsley told McLogan.

She said she retained proof to the contrary — from insurance adjusters, engineers, banks, the city, state and FEMA — that she was eligible for total reimbursement.

Kinsley is renting a home around the corner from her red tape-wrapped house and said she and her community are trying to rebound.

“I want to watch my kids grow up. I don’t want to have to work all day long with FEMA,” she told McLogan.

Kinsley said she won’t accept a buyout and will continue fighting for the funds from the policies she’s paid into for years.

She added that no matter how long it takes, she will rebuild her home.

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