Long Beach Homes

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

Rental Assistance Program Set To Expire As Many Sandy Victims Remain Out Of Their Homes

October 29, 2018 - 10:10 am

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Many homes on Long Island's south shore still sit on wooden cribbing without a contractor in sight six years after Superstorm Sandy.

Construction delays caused by unscrupulous or overwhelmed contractors has basically kept everybody in turmoil, said Ray Malone, whose contractor bailed leaving his Massapequa home half finished.

"Until the house is done, you can't finish anything, you can't relax," Malone said. "You don't know if another storm's gonna come in between. So it's a lot of issues. We're not the only ones. Other people too."

Homeowners are facing a Dec. 31 deadline to get the work done or lose their rental assistance.

"My house has been in the air since April. It's nowhere near done," said Dominic Conte of Seaford. "It's definitely not going to be done by the end of December. I know I can't afford to pay rent and a mortgage."

Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to show compassion and extend the deadline.

"Nothing could be better than on the sixth anniversary of Sandy, that the state and the federal government say, you know everybody, until you all come home there will be no deadline," Ford said.

Nassau County Lawmaker Steven Rhoads points out Cuomo's many visits to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria.

"He's the governor of New York and I understand that what's going on in Puerto Rico is devastating, I understand that the recovery efforts down there are absolutely important but we need him to focus on what's going on here in Long Island," he said. "Gov. Cuomo has made five trips to Puerto Rico to go review the rescue and recovery efforts down there as a result of the hurricane that they sustained last year. When is the last time that the governor has been here to Long Island?"

The governor's office has not responded to a request for comment.

There are at least 200 homes under construction in Long Beach and about 175 in neighboring Island Park.

There are still many signs of the devastation the storm brought in Long Beach where homes were flooded, businesses were destroyed and the beloved boardwalk was torn apart. The boardwalk has been rebuilt with much stronger materials and at a press conference Sunday State Sen. Todd Kaminsky says protection measures have been put in place to prevent ocean flooding.

"The beach has been replenished with the dune. We are far better off, but there is still so much more to go, especially on the bay side," he said.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been engaged in a yearslong beach replenishment project and a $20 million plan to build new bulkheads on the bay side is just getting underway.

Ford says Long Beach has come a long way but adds "let us never forget the promise that we made. We will never stop until everyone comes home."

State officials met in Long Beach over the weekend to discuss the building of a $1 million emergency operations center to coordinate future responses to disasters and lawmakers continue to help the hundreds of residents still displaced from the storm. 

"We are strong, we remain united and committed to seeing that all of our neighbors and family and friends return home," said Councilwoman Anissa Moore.