NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of families are still struggling to rebuild their homes in the wake of Superstorm Sandy’s devastation.
Many have been caught in the delays and red tape of the city’s struggling “Build It Back” program.
Jim and Amber Sullivan are no exception.
The couple spent about $170,000 to repair flood damages at their modest Gerritsen Beach house in Brooklyn, but they still had to raise the home to protect it against future storms, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
“If you don’t elevate your house, they were talking about insurance rates going to approach $10,000 per year. At that point, it’s not affordable to live here,” Jim said.
That’s when the “Build It Back” program got involved last fall.
The Sullivans were originally told it would take three to six months to raise their house, but now it’s been more than a year and they still aren’t back inside.
“We were supposed to be moving in this weekend,” Jim said.
That didn’t happen because the city required them to install a fire sprinkler system, and last week a “Build It Back” contractor was touching up drywall with a heat gun when he accidentally set off the sprinkler head, flooding the house all over again.
“Through every light fixture, it was just kind of raining down,” Jim said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently admitted the program is $500 million over budget and will not meet its deadline to finish repairs of thousands of homes by the end of the year.
When asked about the Sullivans’ flooding, a “Build It Back” spokesperson told CBS2 “the contractors have gone back to repair the home at no additional cost to the city or the homeowners. The homeowners are set to move back in next week.”
“It’s been very frustrating,” Jim said. “In the end, we’re just happy to get back home, it’s been a long time.”
The first thing they plan to do is make a family dinner in their new kitchen.