Rockaways Still Face Hurdles On Way To Recovery From Sandy
As residents in the Rockaway's slowly try to repair and rebuild, there are still several roadblocks slowing the recovery down. NY1's Errol Louis filed the following report.
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NY1's Political Director Bob Hardt lives just one block from the ocean in the Rockaways. He weathered the storm from his home and saw the damage it brought.
"The power isn't back on for everyone, the heat isn't back on for everyone," Hardt said. "There is the ability to get the power and the heat, but that doesn't mean everyone has the financial wherewithal to do that."
When it comes to finances, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says even the hardest-hit homeowners will only be eligible for a limited amount of federal aid.
"There is really very little FEMA can do other than to provide for their individual needs," said FEMA representative Mike Karl. "If these were private residences, then the homeowners are eligible for a certain amount of grants for repair costs. But the grants, even at the maximum allowed is only $31,900"
Another lingering effect of the storm involves sanitation.
Hundreds of tons of debris that's been cleared from people's homes and Rockaway streets has been piled up in the parking lot of Jacob Riis park. The mountain of trash is dumped and moved constantly.
Despite the heaping piles of garbage there now, Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said the park will be back to normal in time for the summer beach season.
"I think we'll be done by then," Holloway said. "The goal is certainly going to be to have things back so that people can come to the beach and enjoy the Rockaways for what it is."
Public housing residents in Far Rockaway endured weeks of discomfort when the power, lights, heat and elevators went out of service.
But John Rhea, chairman of the New York City Housing Authority, said tenants have been understanding.
"They also said thank you for responding and seeing people out working hard everyday to restore heat and hot water and electricity," Rhea said.
The work continues on what is a recovery process that will take months and possibly years.