Sandy victims protest at NY Rising office in Freeport
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FREEPORT - Victims of Superstorm Sandy took to the streets of Freeport today to demand long-awaited help from the government as they struggle to rebuild.
More than a year after the storm, thousands of Long Islanders say they haven't seen a dime as they wait for the government to issue checks for reconstruction.
Among them is Tina Silvers, who used to live on Waterford Street in Island Park until the storm damage forced her family out. Silvers says they've been relying on FEMA's assistance, but that will soon run out, and she's counting on the NY Rising program to help.
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NY Rising oversees about $1 billion in federal funds that have been allocated for Long Island homeowners, but many haven't received anything yet. It's why several Sandy-struck homeowners rallied outside the NY Rising office in Freeport today.
A spokesperson for NY Rising says that reconstruction awards are only sent after homeowners secure a state-licensed contractor. Once that's done, the checks go directly to the contractor, not the homeowner.
The agency says it issued $90 million in reimbursement checks this week. It adds that it has asked the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help expedite the process by allowing it to issue checks directly to homeowners.