As Many As 20,000 Long Islanders Are Still Living Outside Of Their Homes

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — More than a year after Superstorm Sandy devastated the South Shore of Long Island hundreds of families remain homeless.

Some of those families were on hand for a special Thanksgiving treat on Thursday, TV 10/55’s Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.

All of the Turkey Day fixings were on the menu for families that lost their homes to Sandy, during an event put on by the Coral House in Baldwin.

“I was very taken aback when I got the phone call invitation,” Mary Canty said.

Canty and her family were able to give thanks for the holiday meal even though they still can’t live in their Baldwin Harbor home which was flooded with 6 ft. of water during the storm.

“Everything was soaked, everything smelled horrible, like sewage. We lost all of our clothes, everything except what was packed in our car,” she said.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano helped organize the dinner and in between bites he heard from Sandy victims about the difficulties that they have faced in getting government grant money.

“Obviously if you’re still waiting and it’s some 13 months now there’s a great level of frustration and despair in some cases. The good news is the federal government says the money is there and is coming,” Mangano said.

For families who lost everything to the storm the question remains. When is the money coming?

“This is the second holiday season we’re out of our house,” Barbara Vanasselt said.

Barbara Vanasselt and her husband Simon filed all of the necessary paperwork for grants to finish rebuilding and raising their gutted Baldwin home but are still waiting to hear from the state about whether they have been approved.

“That’s the problem. Our papers are stuck somewhere in the validation department and we don’t know what’s going on,” Barbara said.

There has been at least one success story.

Caroline Sanders and her two sons said that they were able to move back into their Freeport home.

“Everything was repaired. I have a wonderful landlord who fixed everything. Thank You!” she said, “Today is all about being grateful and giving to those who have none.”

It is estimated that more than 20,000 Long Islanders are still living outside of their damaged homes. Government agencies said that they are moving as fast as they can but that all of the paperwork has to be coordinated from the village level to Washington.

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