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Some N.J. Residents Left Homeless By Sandy Still Unable To Rebuild

'It's Been A Nightmare. It Has Been A Struggle'

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Superstorm Sandy

LITTLE FERRY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – More than eight months after superstorm Sandy roared ashore and devastated many towns across the region, some neighborhoods have rebuilt and re-opened.

But in other communities, like Little Ferry, N.J., the damage looks as fresh as the day the storm hit.

Many residents there are still unable to live in their homes, all these months after the storm.

“Everything got destroyed,” homeowner Bob Baron told CBS 2’s Tamara Leitner. “I guess it all depends how much money you get to help you. At this point, the money’s run out.”

Baron did not have flood insurance like so many Little Ferry and Moonachie residents, because those towns were not previously in flood zones.

Baron received $25,000 from FEMA, but he said it was not nearly enough to cover the $125,000 in damages to his home.

He is still slowly rebuilding, now with the help of Habitat for Humanity.

Volunteers from Habitat For Humanity said they can’t keep up with the requests for help in the area.

“There’s just a constant need and it’s sad to see that after how many months, people are still not getting help,” Christina Dello Buono with Habitat For Humanity Bergen County told Leitner.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer said the combination of residents with no flood insurance dealing with overburdened insurance companies and the federal red tape have combined to form the perfect storm.

“The state is telling us that the funding from the federal government simply has not been as quickly forthcoming as it needs to be. The federal government is pointing its fingers back at the state,” he told Leitner.

“There are folks, not only in my district but down in Monmouth and in Ocean that aren’t in their homes. They’re still sleeping on couches at someone’s house,” Assemblywoman Marlene Caride said.

Plenty of money has been sunk into rebuilding New Jersey’s economy, but some state officials said that hasn’t trickled down to help the homeowners who are still trying to rebuild.

“There is a back story to this and it’s the actual residents that are still on the street,” Caride told Leitner.

Little Ferry residents like Joanne Lobretto are still slowly trying to get back on their feet.

“It’s been a nightmare. It has been a struggle. I get very emotional over it. I can’t help myself, you have to understand. I’m sorry,” she told Leitner. “I’m in this home for 47 years. I grew up four children in this home. Never in all that time have I ever, ever, ever seen anything like this before.”

The long-time Little Ferry resident said she plans to look into some new state grants that are now available, but has no intention of leaving her family home.

The mayor of Little Ferry said city officials have posted flyers and even used reverse 911 calls to let people know about available grants, including two more grants have just recently become available.

One grant offers financial aid to residents who promise to live in Bergen County for the next three years.

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