Families still homeless months after Hurricane Sandy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Families still homeless months after Hurricane Sandy


Families who lost everything when Superstorm Sandy blew ashore last October, causing billions in damage along the Eastern Seaboard, are still months away from getting back home.

"The day after the storm we went to look at the house and saw the damage and realized, oh my God, I can't live here," said Marla Richardson, who is a victim of Sandy.

The Old Lyme resident said she and her four children won't be able to return to their home on Seaside Lane anytime soon. Waves from Superstorm Sandy wrecked her house that's been in the family for generations. 

Richardson said her family has moved four times since October and are currently living at a rental property in Old Saybrook in May. However, she does not know where they will move next.

"I have no idea. I have no idea, I've gotten some money from insurance companies," said Richardson, whose home was never previously damaged during a storm. "But the whole issue about raising the house, lifting the house or not lifting the house, I'm not sure which way it's going to go yet."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been paying for the Richardson's housing. But, like many property owners, Richardson and her family are looking at spending tens of thousands of dollars in repairs. 

She said she could apply to the town for FEMA grant money, but she says that could take up to two more years. 

"FEMA regulations require that if you put in more than 50 percent of the value of your house for repairs and maintenance, you have to comply with their flood plain mitigation plans," she said. 

In Richardson's case, that means more money to meet FEMA restrictions on the shoreline; lifting the structure and building a new support foundation underneath.

The height restriction of 24 feet would take off her second story off.

"I'm told it could be as much as $60,000 to lift the house to where it needs to be," Richardson said.

She Told Eyewitness News that she doesn't want to go through the extra expense of getting a survey, hiring an engineer and a lawyer to go the FEMA mitigation route.

At this point, she said that she would rather line up the contractors and make the necessary repairs.

Richardson said the snow from Blizzard Charlotte may not delay work on her house; however, the restrictions in her beach association may.

There are limitations as to when contractors can work. If not tabled this season, it could stall the Richardson's from returning to their home.

"I'm doing OK. I have my moments of stress and unknowns, nights staying up late and wondering," she said. "But I have my health, I have my kids, everyone is fine. It's just a house."

From Superstorm Sandy, the town of Old Lyme deemed 266 properties unsafe and 62 were uninhabitable.

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