Group Effort Needed
As if we were not stressed enough by Superstorm Sandy, many of us are going through the roadblocks of getting the money we need to rebuild.
My family was among the lucky ones whose home was still standing after the waters receded. But we did sustain significant structural damage to our basement and porch.
We went ahead and did what we thought were all the right things. We had flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program and we were convinced that the process would be relatively painless as we proceeded in a rational manner. The agent came out early on and evaluated the property with photos, measurements and detailed notes. We were told we would hear from them soon.
In order to ease our minds as to the integrity of our house`s foundation, we hired an independent engineer. A copy of this engineer`s report was sent to FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program. We hoped this would expedite the process.
We hired a contractor to begin the work as we were concerned that with winter approaching, we needed to fix the problem as soon as possible. We'd get the money soon, we told ourselves. Then, on December 14th, the insurance program informed us that they want their own engineer to assess the situation. Close to a month later, we haven't seen an engineer nor can we contact the company FEMA told us they were hiring. We've made endless calls to answering machines with unanswered messages.
We spent a few days feeling frustrated. Now, though, we're trying to be more proactive. I can't imagine we're the only ones with similar problems, and encourage everyone who has issues like ours to contact politicians and FEMA executives, like we have. Misery may love company, but active change can benefit from group action, too. We have filed complaints with the following people, and encourage you to do the same: Governor Cuomo, 1-800- 339-1759; Senator Schumer 212-688- 62 62; Senator Gillibrand 202-224- 4451; NYC Office of Emergency Management, Press office: 718- 422- 4888; FEMA: Edward L. Connor, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration; Edward.Connor @dhs.gov; 202-646-3429; James Sadler, Director of Claims National Flood Insurance Program; James. Sadler2@fema. dhs.gov; Michael Bryne, New York coordinating office, FEMA Michael.Byr ne@Fema.DHS.Gov.
We watch the politicians promise us help, but we have to move and help ourselves. We did everything right, with patience and polite words. Now is the time for action and we all need to act together to get things moving in our beloved hometown.