66 days after the storm – and no congressional aid

It took 8 days after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake for Congress to approve at aid package.

It took 10 days after the federal levee failure in New Orleans in 2005 for them to act.

It’s 66 days later and people and communities in New York and New Jersey have received nothing.

From the January 2, 2012 edition of the New York Daily News

Forgotten Victims Suffer Mold and Cold

MONTHS AFTER Hurricane Sandy left their homes a wreck, dozens of Rockaways households are still living without heat and in homes coated with toxic mold, a new survey has found.

The nonprofit New York Communities for Change canvassed thousands of homeowners shortly after the Oct. 29 storm, then revisited 200 families in the last two weeks.

The results — set for release Wednesday — portray the Queens peninsula as neglected by relief agencies, including insurers, the city and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The report singles out Mayor Bloomberg’s Rapid Repair program, stating that it’s failed to address basic repairs in homes particularly hard-hit by the storm.

“Despite public plaudits . . . the results document clear failure by the Bloomberg administration to solve several problems of habitability,” the report states.

One-third of Rockaways residents surveyed still have no heat, and 10% are still without power. Some 80% of those surveyed either still have wet wallboard in their homes or paid out of pocket to have it removed. And 37% of those surveyed still had mold festering behind their walls.

Of those who had the mess repaired, four of five paid to do it themselves, rather than wait for Rapid Repair.

Javier Torres, 36, a chef at Applebee’s whose Far Rockaway two-bedroom took in about 4 feet of water, describes the Rapid Repair runaround he and his wife, Lesly, 30, are enduring.

Contractors first assessed the damage days after Thanksgiving; then the city informed them the Buildings Department had to certify that there was no structural damage before repair work could be done.

The department did just that, but the city said paperwork was lost and a second assessment would have to be done. That’s scheduled for Jan. 6.

“If you’re in this neighborhood — which is a low-income neighborhood — you’re either going to be forgotten about, or (officials will say) we’ll get to you when we get to you,” said Lesly Torres.

Recently they noticed black mold on the outside of the home they share with their 2-year-old and Lesly’s elderly parents.

“It seems like the longer we wait, the mold is just going to be keep spreading and spreading,” Javier said.

“Rapid Repair is anything but rapid,” said Audrey Walker, whose home on Beach 12th St. is still infested with mold in the closets, bathroom and kitchen six weeks after she first filled out the forms for the repair program.

On Tuesday, Walker said contractors estimated her first floor — which was flooded with 21/2 feet of water — needs $35,000 worth of repairs.

She’s received about $3,000 from FEMA and $4,000 from her insurance company, and is hoping the city can give a little toward the rest.

FEMA can reimburse the city for mold abatement, but only if the city requests it. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has called on Bloomberg to make that request, but Bloomberg has said it’s not the federal government’s job to cover that cost.

“Every day the mayor turns a blind eye to the mold problem, it gets worse. Homeowners need help and they need City Hall to recognize the growing health crisis it has on its hands,” de Blasio said Tuesday.

For ideas on how to help: Help After Sandy

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rockaways-reeling-article-1.1231265#ixzz2GvejqIqT

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rockaways-reeling-article-1.1231265#ixzz2GvefULhA

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rockaways-reeling-article-1.1231265#ixzz2Gvea7HiR

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