Six Months After Sandy

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's been six months since Hurricane Sandy caused flooding and destruction throughout the region. Matthew Schuerman, WNYC editor, and Scott Gurian, freelance reporter, discuss their reporting on the recovery, from the re-building in Long Beach, Long Island to how federal money is being used to improve infrastructure.

Plus: your six-month calls. How is the recovery going in your area? If your home was affected by the storm, have you decided whether to stay and do nothing, to renovate for flood prevention, or to move away from the shore altogether? Call 212-433-9692 or post your story here.


Scott Gurian and Matthew Schuerman

Comments [26]

Marianne from Sea Bright

My house is located in Sea Bright, NJ and was flooded by Hurricane Sandy. I receive an initial settlement offer of $50,000 in January. Before I signed off on the settlement offer (which I had no intention to do), I received the check. I knew that this was less than 1/2 of the actual cost to be incurred to restore the house to pre-Sandy state. After a few email messages to the Adjuster stating my dissatisfaction with the settlement offer and finally realizing that no action was going to be taken on the Adjuster's part to upwardly adjust the settlement amount, I did my own research to determine average fees for the labor involved in performing the various jobs that needed to be done. I also needed to pull old receipts of construction material and appliances to prove to the adjuster that I paid more than what was listed as original costs of these items. I then mapped my rates to the detailed proof of loss line items and totaled the new figures. My final total figure was about $120,000. I forwarded it to the adjuster and one month later received an adjusted Proof of Loss and settlement offer which amounted to $103,000. Although this amount was still lower than my estimated proof of loss total, I accepted the offer. The bottom line, I've found, is that you've got to do your homework to receive a "fair" settlement.

Apr. 30 2013 10:58 AM
Pordy from Madison, NJ

Wow that is a lot of stimulus for a struggling NJ economy-- wonder if it'll do any good for Christie.

Apr. 30 2013 12:33 AM
Chris from Suffolk County

My house was totally destroyed. I had almost 1 mil in insurance. Six months later, still locked in battle with my homeowner's insurance co. which has come up with the most extreme BS arguments to justify not paying. The NYS Dept. of Insurance that regulates these companies should get much more aggressive in demanding that they PAY OUT IN GOOD FAITH instead of giving the insured the run-around to avoid paying. Thankfully, the FEMA flood insurance policy did finally pay out but it is capped at $250,000 and that is way too little to pay for the rebuild. Every month that ticks by means another mortgage payment to the bank for a house that can neither be used nor rented.

As for state and federal funds, other than early FEMA emergency housing, not one penny to me or my neighbors, for rebuilding houses, as yet. We are told that the NYS plan for distributing the funds from the federal Sandy relief bill was just recently approved by HUD and that NYS will begin evaluating applications soon. But the construction season is NOW!! Please hurry!

Apr. 29 2013 05:31 PM
Connie from NJ

JT from NJ is right about leaving the trees on the ground to decompose after clearing them off the trails. It's part of the process of nature; insects and fungi will break them down, and birds and other creatures feed off the insects in turn. To remove the trees would be to interrupt the process.

Apr. 29 2013 12:28 PM
KDolan from Morris County NJ

Sandy Relief:

So $50,000,000 plus billion dollars from congress for NY Metro area , $37 billion to NJ ?

No money spent yet for citizen (imperiled people, taxpayers/homeowners) got any rebuilding funds?

Using the displaced citizens as the poster child in begging for passage of funds YET...

A 1/2 year later, for each dollar not 1 penny spent ....stunning!

But some towns, county, or transit entities got cash right? how much 1 to 3 pennies spent on the dollar allocated?

How much is/was spent so far on "overhead"? administration of the dollars?

WNYC , you need a home page web site chart on pennies spent per dollar for persons (defined as human with a social security number), please announce when you get to a whole penny per dollar! BR KD

Apr. 29 2013 11:49 AM
carly yates from Red Hook, Brooklyn

My name is Carly Yates and i was just speaking on the air. I live in Red hook Brooklyn and lost all physical aspects os my buisness 8.8 Design LLC and 1/3 of my home.
The biggest issue facing Red hook right now is the proposal option within the EPA's Gowanus Superfund project to process toxic waste from the canal project at a facility in proposed to be built in Red Hook. This proposal was conceived pre-sandy and has not been modified or re-visited in light of how the storm devastated this community. It could be catastrophic.
Carly Yates

Apr. 29 2013 11:18 AM
Vanessa L Saunders from Piermont, Rockland County, NY

From the picturesque village of Piermont on the river Hudson.
Our lovely old cottage has never flooded before, even though it was built in 1792. When Sandy hit, our entire ground floor flooded to 6' deep and has now been declared a basement as it is now under grade. So even if we did have the funds to repair we wouldn't be able to insure it. We were in the middle of re-finacing as we bought at the top of the market and as we are both self employed it wasn't easy to achieve. A week before we were supposed to close Sandy hit and the refi fell through. FEMA either because we are self employed an they wont accept our taxes or even a profit and loss from our accountant as proof of income. We now are renting and can't afford the mortgage on what looks like a lost cause. So our bank put us into foreclosure... Then they called me and told me to negotiate a short sale at $250,000 (we purchased at $650,000 in 2004) As you are a real estate broker our bank said, you can do this and we wont have to pay someone else to do it. In NY State all short sales have to be done at arms length but they wouldn't accept that. I can't even get back to the original guy I was speaking to as they have apparently sold the loan.
In the meantime, we have been broken into three times, and back in November, as responsible home owners, realizing the onset of Winter, we paid to have the property winterized. The bank then sent out a team to winterize it and we found them one day in our former bedroom unpacking our belongings and taking photos. The police were called, and as they were unlicensed in NY were asked to leave. Our attorney says we should instigate an Invasion of Privacy and and criminal trespass case against them. Frankly that would most likely end up more good money thrown to the bad...
The bank, has now winterized twice since we did, both totally unnecessary costs, they have also replaced the sump pump as the old one apparently wasn't working because we have flooded at every high tide since the storm. The contractors that are sent to do this neglect to inform the bank that the electricity has been disconnected so however many pumps they install the house will continue to flood at high tide.
6 months and the pain gets worse not better. No help financial or emotional is forthcoming from anyone.
Sad fact but I really feel home ownership is overrated. That coming from a Realtor is really saying something. And finally, if anyone out there is able to help us, we REALLY would appreciate it. Thank you.

Apr. 29 2013 11:13 AM

Whatever happened to the money raised by the 12/12/12 concert? Brian, is there any way to fact check or audit the claims posted on their web site about use of the MILLIONS they collected (and continue to collect)?

Apr. 29 2013 10:47 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

We had reliable power in North Brunswick by the Thursday after...Our local A+P was offline for another two weeks. The independent fuel seller (Rastall) has a BIG generator now!! (just in case)

I still see PSE+G and cable company trucks out on the road doing MAJOR recovery work.

Our magnolia - damaged in the snowstorm of October 2011 - couldn't handle the stress and has to come down.

Apr. 29 2013 10:41 AM
linda ruscillo from Rockaway Park Queens, NY 11694

The Rockaway Boardwalk is not being rebuilt, at this time. The Parks Dept. is doing some patch work, in order to be able to open the concession stands. The Baffle Wall that had been located from Beach 126th St. - Beach 149th is scheduled to begin in June, according to the Parks Dept.

At this time no protection has been done for the area's that no longer have a Boardwalk. The sand fills the beach blocks. The Army Corps of Engineers are suppose to begin, in June to replace sand. However without protection sand will once again be lost.

The residents of this Peninsula's main concern is the lack of protection from the Ocean. At this time no definite decisions have been made as to how that will be accomplished.We live in a constant apprehension according to the weather reports.

Apr. 29 2013 10:41 AM
John from Bronx New York

Hi Brian
Thank you for a great show
My comment: I am a NYC licensed Electrician many small shops like mine answered the call to service and worked 14 Hr days resoring and repairing in my case Electrcial work.
The city of New york is not paying us or paying very litle for the work we did and the materials we brought in. The City contiues asking for addtional documantation many of it redundant. Many small businesses like my own can not survive much longer without being paid for the work we have done. It is about time that the Media and the powers that be recognize the efforts put forth by the skilled trades and stop treating us like criminals Whene we were called on to serve we did. Now homeowners that had work done by rapid repairs are going to begin having mechanics leans put on their properties as we have no other choice

John Alba
914 356 2267

Apr. 29 2013 10:37 AM
The Truth from Becky

That is exactly what I am talking about, caller Christy...."we are building nicer but not more storm resistant" in the same spot! How does this make sense?

Apr. 29 2013 10:36 AM

These recorded caller reports from 6 months ago??


Apr. 29 2013 10:36 AM
mollie from Kingston, NY

As renters we had no choice but to leave entirely. We left Red Hook for the Hudson Valley. Rents are too expensive in Brooklyn for us to have been able to start over. We lost a tremendous amount, have gotten very little from FEMA at this point, and what little money we did have was spent on recovery. I have heard very little about renters- nyc is a renter city. Many people like us were affected badly. Our whole apartment was destroyed.

Apr. 29 2013 10:31 AM
Chris from Brooklyn

Brian, great segment. I discovered this feature article on my Twitter feed this morning highlighting the plight of immigrants struggling to recover on Staten Island:

I think that this is an underreported story. Immigrants are vital to this city, and their special situation should not be forgotten when we talk about the devastation wrought by Sandy.

Apr. 29 2013 10:29 AM
LT from New York City

Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant town very hard hit section of NYC.
This complex is still under construction and clean up after SANDY
With the HUGE amount of funding from the government and FEMA received to the complex for repair and clean up-- seems odd that the complexes are still a big mess, garbage everywhere, laundry facilities still under repair.
The few laundry rooms avail filthy with many broken machines. The complex understaffed with maintenance workers. Although they are still charging full rents to those without service.
WHATS up with this and where is the transparency on the clean up.
Renovations to units to raise rents are still in FULL swing-- Where is the justice?

Apr. 29 2013 10:27 AM
Bob from Pelham, NY

Re using the New Jersey pine trees for boardwalk rebuilding -- nice thought, but even a lifelong city resident like me knows that pine trees are softwood and would not last very long as a boardwalk. That's why tropical hardwoods were used originally, and now concrete or hard plastics.

Apr. 29 2013 10:26 AM
JT from NJ

Towns should only clear the dangerous overhanging trunks & branches and trails or paths. Leave trees on the ground to rot. The more surface area, the better. Underbrush and new seedlings will eventually take over. All of it becomes habitat for creatures great and small. Save safety hazards, cleaning up after these storms -- while creating a view that is more aesthetically pleasing -- is cost prohibitive and unnecessary in the long run.

Apr. 29 2013 10:26 AM
The Truth from Becky

In how many years will we have to spend federal money for the same type of event? Anyone considering moving inland? or maybe they should consider relocating? changing states like the victims of Katrina?

Apr. 29 2013 10:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I was hoping they'd replace the boardwalk w/recycled plastic boards. Is the wood they'll be using at least from sustainably managed forests?

Apr. 29 2013 10:17 AM
Sue from New Jersey

Has the retreat from the Shore begun? In spite of all the vehement denials, it seems as though one strip of houses have been shaved from ocean and baysides in most areas, and building dunes will take another strip.

Apr. 29 2013 10:17 AM
pliny from soho

Tropical Hardwoods to rebuild the boardwalks
how sad for the Amazon

Apr. 29 2013 10:17 AM
john from office

I help serveral small business people get unemployment payments. They got paid for their lost time, but it was not made easy and it was not a smooth process. The insurance carriers also made it hard to get work done, lots of paperwork and the claims examiners were from out of state and did not understand the New York area, money wise.

Apr. 29 2013 10:13 AM
Tim from Montclair

Our house was determined inhabitable by our town after Sandy. Multiple trees feel onto and into the house and caused major structural damage. After much back and forth with our insurance company, we received a final payout for rebuilding less than a month ago. Construction on the house started this past week and will, hopefully, be completed by July 31st. Our current challenge is that the lease on the home we rented in town since Sandy is up and the landlord will not renew it. We now need to pack up all our belongings and move again. However, we cannot find anyone willing to rent a place for a family of five for the next 3-4 months. We need to be out by May 15th and have no idea where we will live. We need to be in or close to town since our kids are in school until the end of June. So, Sandy lives on. Still, we all survived the storm and have a roof over our heads today, and, I suppose, we will find somewhere to live, even if it is a hotel. I am grateful for what we have, but still will be glad to move back home in the summertime.

Apr. 29 2013 09:41 AM
Karni Dorell from Red Hook, Brooklyn

Sunny's Bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn, was hit very hard by Sandy and they have still not re-opened due to the final work needed in the basement. As a result their livlihood has been seriously compensated. We are working very hard help them re-open as the community needs Sunny's bar too since it is a center for live music, artists' exhibits, readings and simply a neighborhood place to gather. They are launching a 40 day fundraising campaign with a MayDay party for Sunny's at the Bell house this Wednesday May 1st to raise money to help restore this historic bar. The scope of the repairs has been enormous and they just need help with this final bill.

Apr. 29 2013 09:35 AM
shaun from NYC

Six months after Hurricane Sandy, one group is having a tougher time than most at getting back on their feet: undocumented immigrants. Nobody really reports on their plight. Out of sight, out of mind?

Here's a piece on undocumented immigrants in Staten Island trying their level best to recover:

Apr. 29 2013 09:11 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.