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State Reimbursement Checks A Welcome Boon For Superstorm Sandy Victims

Program Pays Homeowners For Costs Not Covered By Insurance, FEMA
Superstorm Sandy

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A financial lifeline if being tossed to victims of superstorm Sandy

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, checks are beginning to roll in from a fund earmarked for homeowners with rebuilding and repair costs not covered by insurance or FEMA.

Most of the state money from the reconstruction program called New York Rising is going to Long Islanders — 4,000 of whom will receive an average of $110,000.

Long Island’s South Shore was hit especially hard by Sandy. During the storm, boats careerned into foundations and spewed oil. Some homes swallowed five feet of water and need to be elevated.

“It’s been a whole year of waiting, but once they started the process they’ve been expiditing fairly quickly,” said Babylon homeowner Edward Laraignee.

“The mail came late yesterday, and I was so happy to find the envelope to help us out,” said Debbie Grimmett, also from Babylon.

Without the reimbursement, Edward Donohoe, of Seaford, said he wouldn’t be able to afford to elevate his home.

“They’re talking 110, 120, 130 thousand just to raise the house,” he said.

Michael Serpico, also of Seaford, told McLogan that, without the money, his family would have to continue living in a trailer on their property. He’s rebuilding for the second time — his home was also hit by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

“I should have listened to my mother,” he said. “My mother told me, ‘Get flood insurance.’ I said ‘all right’ so I apply for it, and you forget about it.”

Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said he hopes that word will spread about homeowners being reimbursed, triggering “a new wave of applications.”

To apply, homeowners need a deed to the house or property, income verification and repair receipts, architectural or engineering documentation or a construction contract.

“It could be up to $250,000 for structural damage, per home, for money that was otherwise not reimbursed by either insurance or FEMA,” said Dave Dennenberg, a Nassau County legislator.

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