Residents of a neighborhood heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy are asking a pressing question: Where are the trailers?
As New York's ABC 7 reported on Thursday, there are many displaced families in the storm-ravaged Gerritsen Beach area of Brooklyn. The neighborhood seems to have plenty of space for the trailers that could serve as much-needed housing, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency's "head of operations in New York says nearly every government agency ruled out trailers because of a lack of space."
When questioned about the potential space that could be utilized for trailers, FEMA's Michael Byrne told ABC 7, "You know we're always open to recommendations people make but at this point in time we think solutions we got in place will solve the problem."
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports that FEMA opened a Mobile Disaster Recovery Center in Gerritsen Beach, but the lack of trailers remains a major concern. Michael Taylor of Gerritsen Beach Cares told ABC 7, "I'm really worried there's going to be an elderly person or someone with disability that's going to freeze to death."
According to the New York Daily News, more bad news could be coming to the Gerritsen Beach community in the form of higher insurance premiums. The publication reports that FEMA "plans to redraw flood maps next year," and the consequences could hit residents hard:
The revised maps are expected to label Gerritsen Beach a high-risk flood zone where for the first time mortgage lenders will require residents to get pricey flood insurance - and their homeowners insurance premiums will get jacked up.
[State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Gerritsen Beach)] vowed to hold state hearings to push for insurance rates that aren’t "ruinous" for the neighborhood’s blue-collar homeowners. "This will be a huge expense," he said.
HuffPost's Eamon Murphy reported early last month on the damage sustained by Gerritsen Beach. Murphy spoke to Anthony Testaverde, special assistant to state Sen. Golden:
According to Testaverde, New York City officials have been helpful, bringing in cots and water and lending a MTA bus. But residents complained of being neglected by relief agencies. They had praise for the police and fire departments, but several asked pointedly where the Red Cross and FEMA were, despite occasional reported sightings. (Testaverde described searching houses with a FEMA employee; in one home, he said, they discovered a man who had drowned.) And everyone seemed to agree that City Hall had erred badly in designating Gerritsen Beach -- which is surrounded by water on three sides -- as part of Zone B, meaning that evacuation was not required.
“This should have been an A zone,” Testaverde said. “Whenever you get storms, any type of storms, there’s always water.”
Full video of ABC 7's report on the FEMA trailers can be viewed above.