Superstorm Sandy recovery remains rough for many survivors

     Ortley Beach in December 2012. (Photo: Tom Parr23 via Flickr)

    Ortley Beach in December 2012. (Photo: Tom Parr23 via Flickr)

    A Monmouth University poll released Monday found that many residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy are frustrated with recovery progress to date.

    Among the impacted residents surveyed, 75% say that they feel largely forgotten in the Superstorm Sandy recovery effort. This figure includes 85% still displaced and 64% who have returned home. Only 25% of those surveyed feel that the state’s recovery effort has focused on helping them. 

    “The Sandy recovery effort is certainly a tale of two states. New Jerseyans who were displaced by the storm, even if they are now back in their homes, are significantly more negative than other Garden State residents about the pace and focus of recovery,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

    The poll results were presented to Jersey Shore Hurricane News commenters. The majority of their responses to the question, “If you suffered storm damage, what is your assessment of the recovery effort?” were negative.

    A selection of the responses (unedited): 

    UNCERTAINTY 

    Jackie Wright Guarino: My parents (86 and 83) lost their home and got Very little insurance money. They used all of their savings to buy a new, smaller home away from the shore. They have nothing left in savings and are left with a gutted shell of a home that they now Must sell. There are still no terms on How high the house must be raised and no money to raise it. Very sad for my family!

    Linda Dello Russo Morris: So as we all see, help is still needed. I had NFIP as my ins and I paid over 1500.00 a yr so Linda D please don’t think we are all trying to beat the system. I moved to a rental while still paying a mortgage on my demolished home that they paid to demolish thru ICC claim but now NFIP isn’t turning over funds to rebuild because I’m still in ICC status. I hired a private adjuster and he has issues with how slow government works! Every week new issue comes up and every week I take care of what they ask for yet no answers, FRUStRATION. Is what we all complain about and hope someone would read this and possibly offer help or no more than we do.

    Shirley Daniels Shook: First floor still gutted. Living on the second floor. Grants denied. First said they ran out of money, second one for elevation denied because letter stated we had already started our elevation work which is obviously an error. We are appealing. No better off this year than last year!!!

    Kathleen Carolan Nelson: The worst part is the feeling that it will never end. That old saying “Just when you thought you had all the answers they changed all the questions.” We got through the gutting and the rebuilding; got through the replacing all the appliances and furniture; got through all the new flooring, etc. Then my 96 year old Mother was able to go home. We thought we could breathe again and start living a normal (?) life. THEN… THE OHTER FOOT DROPPED. After all that we were told Mom would have to lift her house. We get the feeling it will never end. Where do you get the money from; she will be out of her house again for months. And we start all over again. What used to be Shangri La has turned into Hell. Can’t get Flood Insurance without lifting, cant’ lift without money. And we go round and round.

    WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

    Michael Pfeffer: would love to know where the billions of $$$ raised went. There’s tons of people still displaced and need help, but there’s no money to help them. Such a disgrace.

    Josh Langenberger: We are still waiting for that celebrity concert money to roll in any day now…oh wait, you thought that was for you?

    Beth A Horan: Still not in our house. I am fighting cancer and don’t know if I will live to even make it back home. It’s taking so long. So many meetings and paperwork. Faxing, faxing and more faxing. All the inspections of your property. Still nothing is done. We still have to live, love and laugh because life is precious and time doesn’t stand still. We go over to our house and you look around, so sad, it’s all you can do not to hang yourself. It’s bad. I also am tired of the public asking me how I am using all their donated money. I tell them don’t donate another cent. The donations have disappeared. Poof. No one has received any donated money that I know of. Wasn’t it illegal for Ms. Christie to raise money and then change who the money was to be used for? It was for Sandy Survivors but she changed it to non-profits? Thank God for our family and friends. They help keep our spirits up. God Bless

    SIMPLY FORGOTTEN 

    Jenny Berse: We are forgotten. We had flood insurance but it’s not enough to rebuild. We are on the waiting list for a grant and are in limbo. Our house was substantially damaged and has to be torn down. We cannot afford to rebuild until we get the grant.

    Kathy Barilla Francis: One year later and no better off…very sad…very forgotten

    Beth Zamorski Still homeless. House declared 100% structural damaged. No hope in sight!

    WHAT RECOVERY?

    Danae Larsen: one word….. nonexistent.

    Christina Foggia-Dunn: What recovery effort?

    Suzi Erica: Terrible recovery, in TR

    Susan Lapotin-Dampf: Terrible. My home is no different than it was. 2 weeks after the storm.

    Debi Cerrato: No better then the day after…can do anything ins company’s stink..

    IT’S PART OF DISASTER

    Drew Thompson: That happens in every natural disaster just ask the victims of Katrina New Orleans what percentage of them feel largely forgotten?

    Joe F. Tempel: This is how most of us feel after a major storm like that. I experienced the eye wall of Charley in 2004. We haven’t fully recovered 9+ years later.

    AS BEST AS POSSIBLE

    Erika Balestro Desimone: I felt things were handled as best as possible, given the breadth of damage. I never expected anything to be up and running this summer. I think the off season will slow things down enough to focus on the confusion that remains. Any time we rely on public sector for basic survival, I think we set ourselves up for disappointment. Every part of recovery that dealt with town or government was lengthy and burdensome. All private companies and workers were focused, responsive and dedicated.

    WHERE’S THE GRANT MONEY?

    Joseph Astringer: horrible, they have the funding and the rrem grant still hasnt been released what gives, im still displaced and still not rebuilt after the knock down feb.UNION BEACH

    Jennifer Patel: The federal government has not funded the RREM grant yet. I’m sure that gas something to do with the slow process….

    Patty Kerr: I am fortunate to be able to live on my 2nd floor (500SF). My entire 1st floor was destroyed (1000SF) & looks the same as it did 1 week after the storm, when the walls & floors were gutted. No one that I know has gotten any grant money from the state. On CBS This Morning Christie said 8 billion of the 51 billion Jersey has for Sandy relief has been paid out & that’s no drop in the bucket. WTF about the other 43 billion?? We need help! So tired of filling out endless forms only to be turned down. I put my faith in God alone because my government has abandoned me.

    i BLAME THE GOVERNMENT/INSURANCE COMPANIES 

    Jaime Barrett: Nothing at all has been done as far as I see… People are still not back in their homes they lost a entire year ago and the nj governent thinks it’s ok to place around with people’s lives… One state agency tells you one thing FEMA tells you another it’s a complete disaster and nothing ever gets done… Hard working nj tax payers are still without homes but I bet if they were jobless and living off of welfare they’d be taken care of… Sad to say but it’s the truth

    Frank Messina: what effort ? Its a joke,from dealing with the IDIOTS from the town to the IDIOTS in our joke of a govt we have no chance. If they really want help make the thieving insurance companies pay what they should and not what they want. Here that Christie ? Stop pretending to give a s*!#

    Philip J. Crincoli Sr.: All the rules should have been suspended regarding allowing people to fix and return to their homes. FEMA should be disbanded as their track record everywhere absolutely stinks and the government should not be in business of colluding with insurance companies.

    Sieglinde Walse: If you don’t have the money to fix things yourself, you’re up the proverbial creek. Insurance is useless, the companies are only out to rip you off for a huge premium, then deny everything when you need them to pay for damage, then raise the premium for next year because you had a claim (which they of course didn’t pay, but that doesn’t matter). The fat idiot in the statehouse is running for president, he doesn’t give a darn for anyone who isn’t in the 1% and giving him huge campaign contributions. Everyone else assumes because we live at the shore, we’re rich – well, guess what? I live here because it was the only house cheap enough for me to afford. And guess what else? This is the only home I have. Which I can’t sell, I can’t afford to raise to some standards noone has really determined yet, and I can’t afford to walk away from, because of what that would do to the possibility of ever being able to buy another place to live (as in, totally wrecking my credit). Recovery effort? I haven’t noticed any on a level other than my own sweat and money. And I’m trapped and f**ked over anyhow. Are we having fun yet?

    Brian Braun: In the business I am in I have dealt with well over 500 people with insurance claims and only 2 were satisfied in what they were compensated with Enough said

    Rachel Rosado Oliva: FEMA is taking forever we can’t get a contractor they are so busy and the house just sits unoccupied and sad while we love with family in less than ideal circumstances

    John Cooper: Feel so sorry for those that lost everything and got no help. But remember next Tueday to re elect the same people…they spent 28 million dollars on the stronger than the storm bull s__t

    Lew Fiord: But Christie says its good, his wifey’s foundation run by his buddy making a high 6 figure salary has 30 million+, Christie’s giving 15 million to seaside again…, oh wait that 75% don’t matter to Christie not wealthy or connected enough or not worth national news for his self centered self.

    Lori Noel Lewkowitz: I’ll be displaced until I rebuild. We demoed last week. I still haven’t received my flood insurance money. Where has all of that money gone? I also blame our governor and his prioritizing. (Ortley Beach)

    Joanne Ramkawsky Gwin: Still waiting for rebuild and recovery to begin. Being Low-balled by Selective Insurance forced us to apply for RREM Grant, still waiting…….

    Peter Harow: Second home owners screwed badly, paid for flood insurance for years and got less than half of policy limits because of second home and different formula when time to pay claim. Any other business would be in jail for using these business tactics.

    Deirdre Marino Berdetta: My family of 4, we are still displaced paying a mortgage, flood insurance and homeowners insurance on a non-existent home while paying rent. FEMA promised us the world and gave us nothing. Our town (Lacey Township) hasn’t gone out of their way to help, just like our state and government office. We’re about $100,000 short to rebuild our house. Got to clean out the retirement funds. Would have been better off if we didn’t have any insurance and sponged off the government.

    Christine Hannemann: Glen Cove in Bayville is going at such a slow pace. I really feel bad for my old landlord….all this waiting is forcing them to sell. They had flood insurance and were not dependent on government funds at all. The hold up…waiting for paperwork from the township. They filed all the necessary paperwork weeks after the storm. They can’t wait any more. They put it up for sale this weekend and they are gonna take quite a hit on it. All because they were trying to do the right thing by FEMA and other govt standards. Losing money month to month from no income on a property they stretched themselves to buy. Some people bash second homeowners but they add a lot to our local economy, not just with spending but with property taxes as well. Wait for future assessments. And the grant program is a joke, people are going to end up spending more waiting for this mystery money than if they just moved on-on their own. I really miss the place we used to call home so much and I miss my neighbors even more. It is a sad week knowing it’s a been a year and very little has changed.

    HAPPY TO BE HOME, BUT UNCERTAINTY ABOUND

    Christina Davis: Many homes in my area still have their halloween decorations up from LAST year. We have moved back into our home (dec-jan), currently still under construction, with some projects left on the back burner for next year. Family that lived across the street from me permanently moved out so there are still a few vacant houses. We are still recovering and do not know what next year will bring. If the revised flood maps are approved, I’ll be preparing to raise our home 5ft-still hoping on a grant for that as we no longer have any savings left. But we still have our home.

    Karen Udvarhely: Finally back home. Just have to sleep on the floor since I spent all my money rebuilding and apparently my flood insurance only covers flood from overflow toilets.

    RECEIVED MONEY, BUT LIFE’S DIFFERENT 

    April Ortiz Woods: I’ve been displaced for a year and they’ve finally gave me my money to rebuild. Im living in a 24 foot rv on my property, life hasn’t been the same

    I’M FINE

    Linda Koster Durso: Our home in Laurence Harbor had a lot of damage. We had very good insurence and we had our full check with in 10 days and repaired with in 1 month. No issue. people need to be insured. Tired of hearing all the complaints.

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