Hard-Hit Residents Say They Just Want To Know When They Can Rebuild

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –– Buried under a mountain of debt and debris, one month to the day after Sandy, storm survivors are struggling to adjust to a new reality.

Residents are still trying to figure out where to live and if they can rebuild. Their frustrations were felt Thursday night on Staten Island at a meeting so packed many people had to be turned away.

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Hundreds of victims jammed the auditorium at New Dorp High School beyond capacity, forcing hundreds of others into a hallway, fueling frustrations, CBS 2’s Emily Smith reported.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“You’re out here blocking us from going in to learn what’s going on in the community,” one woman said.

“They should’ve made [people] show ID… there are people in there that were not residents affected by the storm,” another man vented.

Officials said a safety issue with overcrowding was the reason that people were turned away.

People in the hard-hit borough want to know what is going on in their neighborhoods and when they can start rebuilding and who will pay for it?

“We have three kids. From Dec. 1 we have no place to go,” one woman said.

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“We are still with nothing on the walls, no heat,” another person added.

Lisa Porazzo said her home is decimated and uninhabitable.

“Right now it looks like a big mold pit,” she said. “It’s devastating to see all of the destruction.”

Porazzo got a seat inside the meeting where local, state and federal officials gave brief presentations.

Agencies, including the city’s new Rapid Repairs Program, acknowledged frustrations with slow progress.

“We’ve been waiting for Rapid Repairs. They haven’t come yet. We still have no heat. They still haven’t inspected my home,” one person said.

In New York and New Jersey, more than 335,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie are asking for $78.7 billion in federal aid and counting.

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