Shoreline residents still waiting to rebuild after Hurricane San - WFSB 3 Connecticut

I-Team Investigation

Shoreline residents still waiting to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy

Posted: Updated:
WESTPORT, CT (WFSB) -

It had already been 18 months after Hurricane Sandy raced up the East Coast when delays in rebuilding homes had been reported.

The state was still working to give final approval to rebuilding plans and was reportedly moving slow in handing out the $72 million.

The state said it was being careful in the process for fear of fraud.

After property owners saw some delays, there is some construction underway and now people are finally heading home.

Rosa Danuszar lives in Westport, and when Hurricane Sandy barreled in to the Connecticut coast she had to start all over again and rebuild.

"The water came in and I lost everything," Danuszar said.

Like hundreds of others there were new restrictions on homes near the shoreline which meant it would cost more to rebuild, and Danuszar's insurance would not cover everything, she said.

After applying to the state's Department of Housing for assistance under the Sandy relief program, Danuszar was approved and able to get help replacing her destroyed roof.

The program took a lot of time, she said, and despite waiting 20 months to get close to the finish line, she was one of the lucky property owners and was the first owner-occupied home to be repaired by the state.

Using federal money, a New Haven building was the second to be fixed and more than 600 others are still waiting for repairs.

"I'm so happy, I'm real happy, I'm almost at the end now," Danuszar said.

When Eyewitness News broke the story of the delays back in May, the state's housing commissioner said the state was being "extremely careful" to avoid fraud and needed time to ensure it met all of the federal rules for handing out the funds.

At that time, she said work was about to begin.

"We expect to have a shovel in the ground late May, early June," Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein said in May of this year.

That estimate was pushed back because of new federal and state rules that popped up, and in some cases delays happened in getting local building permits.

Now, Klein said 22 projects are out to bid and 101 more are in the final planning stages.

By comparison, New Jersey has already rebuilt more than 2,000 homes, though state officials said their program is very different than the one in Connecticut and that Connecticut's program should be considered a success.

Eyewitness News profiled Laurie Robinson back in May. Since Hurricane Sandy, she has been living in a camper in her driveway.

She said she has the town's Planning Commission and Inland and Wetlands approval, and hopes her rebuilding project will go out to bid soon and that she can be back home sometime later this year.

Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.