LINDENHURST - Dozens of Superstorm Sandy victims who blame FEMA for mucking up the recovery process as they struggle to get back to normal made their voices heard today.
A crowd of more than 100 people gathered outside of Babylon Town Hall in Lindenhurst for what organizers called National Stop FEMA Day.
Participants denounced FEMA regulations and federal policies that have spurred sky-rocketing flood insurance premiums that are set to kick in on Oct. 1. The protesters also blasted a provision that allows FEMA to withhold aid for so-called "earth movement" damages, or damages that are caused by movement of soil or earth as a result of flooding.
Among the frustrated victims is Fran Dawson, a single mother of three whose Bay Shore home looks much as it did nearly a year ago when Sandy first struck. Dawson says her home purchase 10 years ago meant so much to her family, but now she's facing foreclosure, and the funds she's received from FEMA and insurance won't go far enough to make the necessary repairs.
Dawson says she has no choice but to stay in her home the way it is, because she has nowhere else to go. She's forced to go to a friend's house for showers and meals because she has no running water. "I never thought I'd feel like a squatter in my own home," says Dawson.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that the state will step up and fully compensate homeowners who suffered damages because of "earth movement." But homeowners like Fran Dawson say even that may not be enough to cover the costs of rebuilding.