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Thursday, October 8, 2015
‘It’s been hell’
(Page 2 of 2)
Courtesy Patty Vacchio
Inwood resident Patty Vacchio has been living without a kitchen and living room in her Bayswater Boulevard home since Hurricane Sandy hit nearly nine months ago.

With the foundation for her new home complete, Grimando expects the prefabricated structure to arrive on July 11 and be lifted into place by a crane. “I’m getting a brand new home, so I consider myself lucky, but just about everything was lost,” she said. “When my son wants to know where his baby pictures are, I’ll show him pictures from [the hurricane].”

Grimando said she is looking forward to having some privacy once she is in her new home, as she and her 9-year-old son have been sleeping in her parents’ dining room at their home on Doughty Boulevard in Inwood. “We’re trying to pick up the pieces and move forward,” she said. “But you can’t move forward when you’re lost in limbo like this. We need to be home.”

A few houses down on Bayswater Boulevard, Patty Vacchio is still without a kitchen and living room. “It’s frustrating that it’s taken so long to get back to somewhat of a normal life,” she said. “We want our basic necessities back. We also don’t want to ever be faced with the same situation again.”

Vacchio’s difficulties were compounded by the fact that she was ineligible to receive rebuilding assistance from FEMA because she had flood insurance, and has received only about 40 percent of the settlement she applied for after the storm. “We’re still fighting to collect our insurance money,” she said. “We’re just trying to get back to where we were.”

The neighborhood Vacchio has called home for nearly 30 years was irrevocably changed by Sandy. “It’s sad that some houses have been torn down and some people haven’t returned at all,” she said. “This once was a beautiful, small, isolated community, which seems decimated. However, for those of us that have endured, I do believe we will come back stronger than before.”

Siciliano anticipates that her home repairs will be completed in the next three to six months, but she said she will never get back the family photos and remembrances of when her children were younger. “New is nice but old is comforting,” she said as she displayed some soon-to-be-completed needlework, which reads, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”


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Couple of mistakes in article. You are not required by law to have flood insurance. It is a FHA/VA/Fannie/Freddie/SBA requirement to have flood insurance if you borrow from Govt.

Folks who have private mortgages or no mortgages have no legal obligation to have flood insurance.

FEMA $31,900 payout to folks without flood insurance was for bare bone things, furnace, electrical panel , sheet rock up to around 24 inches above flood line. FEMA does not give you a nickle for contents, painting, mold removal etc.

Folks with insurance got covered on all that stuff. That is why FEMA is not paying them. Also FEMA assumes you do the work yourself. FEMA actually calculates the cost to do all the demo work at Minimun wage afterall it is unskilled labor.

Believe it or not I had five feet of water in my house. No flood insurance. Same as my two neighbors once spent 150K other spent 135K. Identical houses, indentical damage. I got $31,900 from FEMA and repaired it all for a total of 35K.

Basically FEMA paid me 100% for all the material. I have flood insurance now to the max, but guess what it was a great learning experience.

Only downside is my house has received the once in a lifetime payment from FEMA, even 600 years from now a owner has a flood and does not have flood insurance my house wont get a nickle and legally by law I have to disclose this information when I sell it.

That is a big negative on my house. Folks with flood who got quadruple what I got fixed their homes better to mitigate against future flood loss. When flood rates rise they could go ahead and drop flood or cut back as they have the $31,900 FEMA safety net.

Part of problem is Contractors widely overcharged for services. I had a few ring my bell or had neighbors "insurance guys" contractors ring my bell. I got quotes like 15K from ServePro for demo and mold remediation. Cost me $500, rented equipment bought mold spray and threw everything to curb with no dumpster myself. Quotes for 10K for electrical, which I got done for 1k. Quotes to pump out oil tank and remove for 2k, which DEC pumped out for free and local scrap yard took away old tank for free once I pushed it to side of house. I got quotes to nail up siding, fix gutters as I need quotes to apply for grants that I never got anyhow. For like 2k, which I just went on ladder and nailed back in for zero three months later.

Next flood now that we all know what to do we wont have insurance issues, folks with insurance will watch their budgets better and keep Serve Pro, Mold guys, and fly by night electricians out of house.

Did you know that when you electric box is coated in salt water, you can just detach it clean it with soapy water and hose it off, let it dry and put new breakers in. Electricians will tell you it has to be replaced. Salt takes days/weeks to ruin components. Did you know you can take vinyl siding down with a two dollar tool pull a few lats, yank out instalation and spay for mold and put back new instalation for a few bucks rather than take apart main level if water has not reached electrical.

My favorite is wood floors warp all over the place and takes up to three months to dry. I had a pine subfloor with oak on top my two nieghbors ripped out with insurance. FEMA told me dont touch if for three months run dehumidfiers and molds spray and scrub subfloor and it should me find. Both neighbors said FEMA and I was insane guess what floor are perfect again.

Read the FEMA handbook after the flood. Great tips on how to redo your house.

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