More than two months after Superstorm Sandy swept through the Northeast, leaving behind a trail of unprecedented devastation, some New York City residents are reportedly still struggling to get back on their feet, with many of them suffering through the winter cold without heat.
According to Gothamist, which cites a recent survey released by New York Communities for Change (NYCC) and the office of NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, nearly one-fifth of residents in the badly hit Rockaways neighborhood in Queens are still not living in their own homes. In addition, one-third of residents in that area are without heat, and two-thirds are "living with mold or have paid out of their own pockets for mold removal and remediation" following the superstorm.
The New York Daily News notes that about 10 percent of residents in that neighborhood are still without power.
“If you’re in this neighborhood -- which is a low-income neighborhood -- you’re either going to be forgotten about, or [officials will say] we’ll get to you when we get to you,” said Lesly Torres, a 30-year-old mom whose two-bedroom Far Rockaway home took in about four feet of water during the storm.
In the wake of the worsening mold problem in the Rockaways and elsewhere, the NYCC is now urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to implement a program similar to the Rapid Repair plan that was set up to help city residents return to their homes post-Sandy.
The [NYCC] survey, which looked at a cross-section of a larger sample population of 1,200 Rockaways residents, notes that while the federal government won't reimburse homeowners for mold removal and remediation, it will compensate New York City. "Mayor Bloomberg…should implement a mold and sheetrock removal program immediately that stops the public health crisis and reimburses homeowners for expenses related to mold remediation," the report recommends.
“Every day the mayor turns a blind eye to the mold problem, it gets worse. Homeowners need help and they need City Hall to recognize the growing health crisis it has on its hands,” advocate de Blasio said Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News.
For more information about how to help residents in the Rockaways and other Sandy survivors, go to the NYCC website here.