“We had people who weren’t substantially damaged who were upset,” Kemins said. “They’re getting really low, unreasonable estimates from their insurance companies. It’s a horrendous situation that a lot of people are in … we’re trying to work with residents as best as we can, and our goal is to get residents back in their homes as quickly and as safely as possible. We’re in the process of issuing the determinations to all the homeowners.”
Kemins acknowledged that the cost of elevating a home is at least $75,000, and many residents may have to apply for grant programs such as Recreate NY. That becomes another challenge, he explained, as many homeowners await reimbursements from their flood insurances companies and approval for ICC funding and other government programs before they can rebuild. Kemins urged people to apply for the state’s Recreate NY Smart Home Program, which offers grants to residents and businesses who have unmet housing and recovery needs.
“Between what they get from their flood insurance company, their claim and whatever the government makes available, and SBA loans — between all those mechanisms, we’re hoping people will be given enough funding,” Kemins said. “It’s a big challenge — unfortunately, some of these programs won’t reimburse you … if you lay out the money, you may not get it back. My in-laws on West Broadway are still out of their home and living in Garden City. They’re waiting for money and dealing with insurance issues.”
Pennsylvania Avenue resident Sam Kinsley said she hopes she can start rebuilding her home next month. It was flooded with four feet of water during the storm, and city building inspectors told her that 77 percent of the house was damaged. Though she was initially told that her insurance would cover the entire $250,000 cost of rebuilding, her insurance company later told her that she would not receive full coverage. She recently received $94,000, but has filed supplemental claims to cover the remaining costs.
“We’re going to rebuild — it would be more cost-effective,” she said. “I stay up to 3 a.m. every day trying to find grant money.”