Out Of 18 Houses On 1 Block, Only 8 Families Remain

LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One day short of a year after Superstorm Sandy, lives remain uprooted and a long journey remains before normal life resumes in Lindenhurst, Long Island.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, floodwaters have receded and electricity has returned.

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But out of 18 houses on one block, only eight families remain. All of the houses were occupied before Sandy, but at least two have now been condemned.

And residents remained frustrated.

Photos: Sandy One Year Later

“If you talk to everyone and exhaust yourself, you can make some progress, but it takes a lot,” said Ray Velton.

CBS 2 first visited Velton’s block of Venetian Shores just after Sandy barreled through. Residents were in tears and disbelief as possessions were removed after floating out of collapsed homes and into the street.

“When the surge came, it just popped these gates open,” Velton said.

Cowering on his second story, Velton took a video out the window during Sandy. Three homes near his own eventually floated away.

Owners have since been fighting bankruptcy and skyrocketing insurance.

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“We’re not going to be satisfied and happy until the last family is back in their home,” said Babylon Town Supervisor Richard Schaffer.

He said there are approximately 500 families on a waiting list for their homes to be elevated.

Most of the houses here are getting raised at least 8 feet. Velton himself is on the waiting list.

He was without power for two months, and didn’t get heat and hot water back until shortly after Christmas last year. A year later, he was still dealing with a broken washer and dryer, and a refrigerator that keeps shorting out.

The surge of saltwater from the Great South Bay also ruined his truck. As a retired mechanic, Velton embarked on a mission of kindness to repair and donate the truck to another Sandy victim.

“It was just a good feeling to do that, after everybody giving me everything,” he said. “Anybody that got everything – food, clothes everything – knows what that feeling is, to give back.”

Velton and his neighbors said their decisions to stay are based on the economics of the Long Island real estate market, and their refusal to abandon a lifestyle by the sea.

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