Some people are battling with insurance companies. Others waited months for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to finalize its newly updated flood maps, which put Breezy Point in a more stringent flood zone with higher elevation requirements. And still more are waiting for the government and the cooperative to approve a long list of permits and plans that stand in the way of starting construction.
Meanwhile, homeowners like Burke are struggling to afford rental housing on top of the mortgage that they’re still paying on a pile of sand.
“We’re paying a mortgage, we’re paying real estate tax, we’re paying insurance, we’re paying everything,” said Burke, who has been renting a house in suburban Yonkers with his wife and two young sons. “So basically we’re living a dual life. We have two homes, and we never prepared for that.”
Burke’s grandparents owned his two-story home, and like many Breezy abodes, it was passed down through the generations. During the storm, he waded through flooded streets and helped rescue neighbors before narrowly escaping his own home as it caught fire.
“I’m 41 years old and we’re dipping into retirement funds,” he said. “A lot of people are actually going broke over this.”
Adding to the confusion is the fact that many Breezy homes were built on unmapped streets, which means that they have to apply for a special permit from the state to rebuild.
“It’s good for morale to see a house going up,” said A.J. Smith, a spokesman for the cooperative. “But we really need the buildings department to act on some of these plans.”
Building plans began moving forward in recent weeks after the city resolved some issues with the cooperative that had been delaying plans, such as agreeing on a market value of each home in Breezy, said Peter Spencer, spokesman for the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery.<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>