Superstorm Sandy: The Long Road Back: Still Not Made Whole

It's been two years since Superstorm Sandy slammed Long Island, leaving homes battered and destroyed. However, residents are still picking up the pieces and trying to get their lives back. In part one

News 12 Staff

Oct 27, 2014, 4:12 AM

Updated 3,493 days ago

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Superstorm Sandy: The Long Road Back: Still Not Made Whole
It's been two years since Superstorm Sandy slammed Long Island, leaving homes battered and destroyed. However, residents are still picking up the pieces and trying to get their lives back. In part one of News 12 Long Island's Superstorm Sandy: The Long Road Back, Christine Insigna finds that many are still not getting the help they need to go back home.
Sandy destroyed Deb Gialanze's Long Beach home. She says her family is still renting an apartment, waiting for funds from the government to rebuild. Gialanze says she is frustrated with the state-run program, NY Rising, that provides rebuilding and revitalization assistance to communities hit hard by Sandy.
"The more you sat down with New York Rising, the more the rules changed," Gialanze says.
Many other families say they are experiencing similar setbacks. Pat Donohue's home in Seaford still remains an empty shell after Sandy. "It tells us one thing one day, and then next week we find out it's a different rule about how to get the money to do what we need to do," says Donohue about NY Rising.
The head of NY Rising, Jon Kaiman, says that the agency wasn't created until six months after the storm. He claims the rules aren't changing, rather there are just a lot of them to contend with. He adds that the federal government, not the state, is to blame for all the red tape.
"The agreement that we made with the federal government is that we will accept this money if we put all these conditions on the distribution," says Kaiman. "We have to agree to hundreds of different rules, but if we agree to those rules we get hundreds of millions of dollars to distribute to local residents that they don't have to pay back to fix their homes."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) says 91 percent of those eligible for NY Rising funding have received some money. According to Kaiman, nearly 20,000 people have applied for funding, but only half are eligible for the money. FEMA officials tell News 12 the reason for the implementation of so many rules and regulations is to ensure the money is being properly disbursed and that the right people are getting it.
News 12 Long Island will host a live question and answer session with Jon Kaiman of New York Rising tonight at 7 p.m. Have a question? Go to the News 12 Long Island Facebook page tonight at 7, click on our cover photo and submit your question in the comment thread.


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