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Thursday, December 18, 2014
Still homeless with a mortgage
(Page 2 of 2)
photo by Laura Schofer
SLEEPLESS IN SEAFORD: Homes remain vacant almost a year after Sandy hit our shores.

“I was the first in line” said Mr. Conklin, who waited three months – as of October 2, the day of this press conference – before an inspector came to his home to review the Conklin’s application. Now he will wait again, until a determination is made, including a review of what other money he has received, including the SBA loan.

“I was told by FEMA that I had to apply for the SBA loan,” said Mr.Conklin “but that amount was reduced after they told me I wasn’t moving fast enough on the work.” Mr. Conklin said the government requires very detailed estimates from contractors before releasing the money. “What contractor has the time to do that and for free?”

Charlie Spoto, a neighbor of the Conklins is close to completing reconstruction to his home with money he laid out. “It’s been a fight since the storm, nonstop bureaucratic nonsense. They wanted me to reproduce all my documents. That’s not an easy thing when you are in disarray. New York Rising inspectors have been here twice, but I haven’t heard from them and when I ask questions they don’t seem to know what’s going on.”

Other problems with NY Rising

Michele Mittleman, of the Sandy Victims Fight FEMA facebook group, said in a post that the NY Rising program still needs to provide clear information to help residents struggling to raise homes as well as buy-out programs for residents who do not wish to return to their homes, or are struggling to raise homes. “NY Rising has not yet paid $1 to anyone who suffered Sandy damages. We cannot wait any longer, we need to re-build and go home. We are tired of being homeless with a mortgage,” she wrote.

“We need to start making payments now,” said Legislator Denenberg. “The Conklins and the Spotos are us – hardworking people, who are trying to do the right thing. It’s time to turn on the faucet and let the money flow.”

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