By Lia Eustachewich and Kate Briquelet
October 26, 2013
A year after Hurricane Sandy, the Rockaways are still fighting for help from the city — and along some stretches of sorry roadway, it looks like the storm hit only yesterday.
Throughout the storm-tossed neighborhood, beachside bungalows are boarded up and rotting, covered in graffiti and tangled telephone wires.
“The Rockaways are totally forgotten,” said Blue Anderson, 30, who lives on Beach 26th Street — and hasn’t had heat since last year. “We want to leave but don’t have the funds to go nowhere.”
Anderson’s home is surrounded by abandoned bungalows. She said her building smells like garbage and her ceiling leaks, and she turns on the stove just to stay warm.
“They can’t leave it like this. It’s a danger,” said neighbor Sharon Camp.
Camp, 50, lived in a two-family rental on Beach 64th Street until a sinkhole formed in her back yard in spring. She has blown through her $7,000 nest egg to stay at hotels.
She said she tried to apply to the city’s $648 million Build it Back program, which helps people repair their homes or buys dilapidated properties. But Camp was told the program is for homeowners only.
“All the money appointed for Sandy, none of it went to the Rockaways. The city didn’t do nothing for us,” she fumed.
Hurricane Sandy struck on Oct. 29, 2012 — killing 68 people in New York and cutting power from more than 2 million homes and businesses. It was the country’s second-most expensive weather disaster.
Last week, city officials blamed Washington for not distributing federal aid. So far, only one Staten Island home has been acquired under the Build it Back program.
Applicants have been begging for help for months on the program’s Facebook page.
“It’s now October, and we STILL haven’t heard back about an ‘inspector’ or anything else. Losing faith in this program,” wrote Mark Dana of Brooklyn.
Dozens of storm victims and volunteers marched 10 miles from Far Rockaway to Howard Beach on Saturday to demand aid for families struggling to live in squalid houses.
The two-day, 22-mile march continues today and ends at City Hall.
“We have to make sure that Sandy recovery efforts . . . support working families and neglected neighborhoods,” said Father Fulgencio Gutierrez of St. Mary’s Church in Far Rockaway, which helped kick off the event.
One marcher, Shawn Adams, 44, still lives in a moldy house on Beach 63rd Street.
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