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Some Sandy Survivors Still Homeless, Say Zoning Regulations Keep Them From Rebuilding

One Year Later, Nick Honachefsky Still Lives Out Of A Backpack

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (WLNY) – A year later, many people are still picking up the pieces of the damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. Nick Honachefsky is one of them.

His home in Camp Osborn, N.J., was destroyed by the storm. He joined us on The Couch to tell us about his story — and why he’s not sure he can rebuild just yet.

His home along the water was just that — a home. Not a vacation house.

“I was  year-round local,” Honachefsky said. “I’ve lived there for 16 years, year round, and my entire life was there, basically.”

But not anymore.

“Completely wiped off the map, I mean, there’s nothing left,” he said. “My house, along with over 100 other houses that were by me, were completely washed into the ocean. Burned down, then all the debris just washed away. Not even the cinder block left.”

A sport fisherman by trade, Honachefsky is also a travel guide, photographer and TV host — meaning he had years worth of memorabilia and mementos at his residence.

“Mother Ocean has that now,” he said. “I had like, 15,000 photographs, 15 years of writing and hard drives. You just don’t think about that when you’re evacuating. I thought there would be some flooding, but you don’t expect total annihilation.”

“I had 5 back up drives. I put everything up in the attic that meant something to me. But it’s all gone. You just don’t think that it’s not going to be there.”

He’s been living in and out of hotels for the last six months after spending time crashing with friends. A year later, he’s still not sure where he stands on rebuilding.

Honachefsky says his township has rezoned the plots of land, which make them impossible to build on with current regulations.

“It seems like it’s a convoluted game right now. There’s a lot of politics involved with rezoning laws in the Brick township area, so it kind of keeps us handcuffed on rebuilding. I don’t really see an end in sight just yet. I’m hoping in the next eight months I can rebuild.”

Through it all, this Sandy survivor remains as upbeat as possible. A tough task, he says, as he can’t even buy anything for himself these days — he’s homeless, with nowhere to stash it.

“Hopefully maybe the township will understand and alleviate the regulations a little bit to let us rebuild.”

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