Christmas marks a fresh start for more than a dozen families still struggling to recover after Hurricane Sandy.
The Staten Island families lost their homes and nearly everything they owned two months ago. Now for the first time, they have a place to call home right here in Connecticut.
"It is wonderful to be home again," said Debbie Rassi, who has a roof over her head she can call her own for the first time since Oct. 29.
Rassi's Staten Island home was devastated by the storm and the family lived a half a mile away from the water, but it wasn't enough. She told Eyewitness News that she lost everything.
Rassi's husband had stayed back with the house and was stranded there surrounded by water for over 13 hours. Thankful to just be together, the Rassis have lived in four evacuation centers since the storm.
At one of them, Rassi spotted a flier for the Steven Silla Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which offered temporary housing for a year in Connecticut. The Faith Church of New Milford provided the space and the homes went up in less than two months.
The Rassis were among the first families to move in the temporary homes in New Milford.
There are still more under construction and when all is said and done there's going to be about 25.
The Faith Church of New Milford is still looking for donations for all of these families moving into their facility.
All the homes are already stocked with food, dishes, furniture and even, a little Christmas tree surrounded by presents from the community. The Rassis moved in Tuesday night, just in time to spend their first holiday there.
Rassi said she doesn't think she could move back to Staten Island and might just make Connecticut her permanent home.
"I'm looking forward to moving forward," she said. "It is a new beginning, in more ways than one."
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