Johnsons Say They Can't Afford To Keep Renting

SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island family is planning on moving back into their Sandy-damaged home this week, even though the house has no furniture and is still being renovated.

Tom and Maureen Johnson, both 54, have been living with their two daughters, 11-year-old Viktoria and 12-year-old Stephanie, in rental homes for the past 13 months after the entire first floor of their Seaford home, which is on a canal, was ruined by Sandy.

The Johnsons said FEMA assistance amounted to less than $5,000 and they’ve paid for their latest rental home in Wantagh using all their savings and borrowing money from family. They both have jobs with Verizon, but say their income barely covers living expenses.

The lease on the rental is up soon and Maureen Johnson said staying in Wantagh is no longer an option, financially or otherwise.

“I can’t stand living here anymore,” she said. “We have a room here that is not even heated, there is no heat in it, and when I do my laundry I have to wear a winter coat.”

Tom has been battling cancer, and because of the stress of trying to get the Seaford house ready for his family, he recently had to get a pacemaker.

“I painted as much as I could until I started getting dizzy and falling off the ladder,” he said.

The family is scheduled to move back into their unfurnished Seaford home on Friday.

“We need to get home for our sanity,”  Maureen Johnson said.

The Johnsons will bring beds they had purchased for the rental home and also borrow two old couches from the Wantagh residence.

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