It has been one year since Hurricane Sandy battered parts of the East Coast, causing more than $65 billion in damages and taking the lives of hundreds. For many, recovery has been a slow and uneven process, wrought with emotion and FEMA's bureaucratic red tape. Feleza Katz Frej, whose Rockaway Beach, N.Y., home was destroyed during the hurricane, shared her story on HuffPost Live.
"FEMA didn't believe that I lived in the house that I owned," she explained to host Ahmed Shihab-Eldin. "They see an address that's from the utilities (LIPA), and that address is an old address -- it's the point of entry of service of gas and electricity into that street. But it's not the actual physical address of the house."
"And I gave them the deed. I gave them the statement from the banks that say this is my primary residence. And taxes showed that there's no rental income or anything," she continued. "And it was only after writing to the senator and also the help of another media that I got attention. And all of a sudden, FEMA was calling me off the hook."
While Frej was struggling, her neighbors were already receiving their checks. "FEMA agents were walking up and down the street, but I was relocated because I couldn't live in the house. I was relocated for nine months. So they were knocking on my gate. Knocking? You should call. And they insisted that they called, and they never called. I was waiting and waiting."
More than a month passed before FEMA finally inspected Frej's house. But despite her struggles with the government organization as a whole, Katz had positive moments with the agents who helped her. "The agents at the tent were very sincere. I mean, I remember running in, breaking down, and they took my hand."
She added, "I have to say, I thank God for one, who -- his name was Jesús -- who helped me unbelievably. To this day, I have to thank him."
Watch the full conversation on HuffPost Live.