Turhan said she believes that insurance companies don’t have a clear picture of what is happening on the ground. “Government thinks they know what we need, but if nobody is asking what we actually need, then how are they providing it?” she said.
Turhan is gathering the information from the surveys so she can present it to local legislators — so they in turn can advance her cause at a higher level. She would like to see policy changes come out of her efforts.
She is organizing a rally on Sunday, in Kennedy Plaza, from 3 to 5 p.m., called Speak Up & Speak Out. She is asking residents and business owners to gather to share their experiences and concerns, so they can learn from one another.
“The only way that we’re going to make changes is by having a unified voice,” Turhan said.
Swingbellys BBQ owner Sean Sullivan, whose restaurant was destroyed in the storm, said that even though he has filed paperwork with the SBA and his insurance company, he has yet to see a dime of reimbursement. “We pay a lot of money in insurance all year long,” Sullivan said, “and it’s for this.”
Without knowing how much recovery money he will ultimately receive, Sullivan explained, he can’t plan renovations and has no timeline for when he might be able to open. His bills are still piling up, he says, and with no revenue coming in, “the longer it takes, the bigger our debt is on Day One when we reopen.”
Sullivan says he employs about 15 people in the winter and about twice that many in the summer season. For some of them, Swingbellys is a second job, but others are still looking for whatever work they can find, he said, adding that he is hoping the restaurant will be up and running this spring.
“It’s just starting to get a little scary,” he said. “Everything is in a holding pattern.”
The Long Beach Medical Center, meanwhile, announced recently that it is aiming to reopen in mid-March. Greenfield said she is confident that, with her seniority, she will be hired back.
“It’s hard, the waiting game,” she said. “March seems so far away.”