1 1/2 Years After Sandy, Residents Still Struggle To Rebuild

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Patrick Rowland is a man without a home, a year and a half after Sandy destroyed his Silver Sands Beach house in East Haven. Since then he says his time has been spent either rebuilding the home himself or fighting with FEMA to get reimbursements.

“We’re spending all of our money,” Rowland said. “I don’t have a choice. “We don’t have a place to live.”

It’s a problem Gov. Dannel Malloy says he’s heard too many times in his shoreline tours.

“This is a totally different way to handle a state problem that, quite frankly, the federal government drags its feet on,” Gov. Malloy said.

And that’s one of the reasons why he wants the legislature to approve $25 million for the Shoreline Resiliency Fund, a low interest loan program to help residents elevate and flood proof homes and businesses. His issue: FEMA is too slow, and too restrictive.

“Their limitations are too low, and as a result many of our homeowners can’t qualify for assistance,” Gov. Malloy said.

“The loans are worth up to $300,000 for 10 years, with no interest or principal the first year, and can be used on primary or secondary homes with no income cap for applicants.

That’s fine for Rowland, but he’s concerned this influx of state money still won’t accomplish what federal money has failed to do – help him recuperate money he has already spent.

“The fed money , part of the Community Development block grant, that’s being distributed , as I understand,” Rowland said. “They’ve worked with some people who have architectural plans , but they haven’t spent a dime on people who have swung hammers and bought nails and bought plywood – or for people like me , who have spent $30,000 on telephone poles to put my house on stilts.”

 

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