"We're really no further along than we are 10 months ago, except that we're gutted," Seaside Park, N.J., native Faith Liguori said.
One year since Superstorm Sandy, Liguori is still searching for the money to raise and rebuild her home. She remains on a waiting list for the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grant, which would give her up to $150,000 to remediate.
Federal funds have allocated $600 million for the grant, but the waiting list is long, and as of Aug. 1, the program has stopped accepting applications. "Our insurance claim hasn't been finalized. We're still debating how much it is going to cost if we were to put this back," she said.
Preliminary flood maps had placed Liguori and her husband half in an A zone and half in a V zone. The two zones both suggested different rebuilding strategies. Adhering to one and not the other would affect her National Flood Insurance Program rates.
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"Living at the Jersey shore is a way of life. It's something I always wanted to do," she said. "When I was finally able to buy a house here years ago, it was like a dream come true and now it has turned into a nightmare."
"So, that's where we are a year later," Liguori said. "Gutted and waiting."
Liguori lost the first floor of her home, but was able to continue living in the house. Others, such as Michelle Mallozzi of Seaside Park, have spent the year residing in FEMA-assisted housing.
Mallozzi has fewer than two months until the agency will end her assistance, forcing her to foot the bill for temporary housing and her mortgage.
"I'm just worried that I'm going to wind up in foreclosure," Mallozzi said. She also lost her business to the storm.
Like many homes in the area, her home looks restored from the outside. When the flood waters receded, however, severe interior damage was left behind.
Like Liguori, Mallozzi also applied for the RREM grant. One year later, she's still waiting to see if she'll become a recipient.
"I don't have walls; I don't have anything," Mallozzi said. "People think everything is fine now. They really have forgotten about us."
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