It’s been more than Two Years Since Hurricane (Super Storm Sandy)

Written By: Glenn Michaels, Op-Ed Writer

On October 29, 2012 the east coast was hit by Hurricane Sandy also known as Super Storm Sandy. People that were not impacted by the storm or people that reside in other areas of the United States have no idea how many people are still having issues from the storm.

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As I travel around Long Island, NY, Brooklyn and Queens, NY, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut it is amazing how many homes are still in disrepair and or in various stages of renovation.

Many homes that were near the water are elevating their foundations to avoid flood damage in the event another surge comes to the area. I have been a New Yorker for more than sixty years and never knew from a surge. When the news media warned everyone to evacuate their homes because a surge was going to occur, I, like so many did not evacuate as we did not know from a surge and what it could do to us and our home.

Living on an island, Long Island, and not living close to the water who would thing a surge would impact us. I remember watching “Dancing With the Stars” with my wife and seeing flashes in the sky from several windows. We remarked to each other, “what a strange hurricane, lightening with a hurricane? Little did we know those flashes turned out to be transformer boxes popping all over. At the moment we still had electricity.

At approximately 8:45 PM eastern time we heard and saw a huge blast in the sky behind our home. The power plant that at least eight to ten miles south of my home exploded due to be flooded by the surge. We looked out of our front window and for a while had no water on the street. A little later our street started to look like a river and the water went into my home and so many others. Now we know what a surge is.

Now that the storm hit more than two years ago the news media and the government rarely make reference to the untold thousands that are still suffering from Hurricane Sandy. I was lucky I lost my entire lower level of my home and was able to repair it in a matter of weeks. My damage was approximately $40,000.00. People lost their automobiles (250,000 were totaled on Long Island, NY) from the storm and many lost their entire home. The difficult part for everyone was obtaining the funds to make the required repairs.

I did not live in a flood zone that required federal flood insurance; therefore I did not possess such an insurance policy. If I had a flood policy most of my funds to repair my home would have come from the flood insurance policy. Home owners insurance only covered $3,500.00. Now we have a huge amount to cover in order to restore our home.

The federal government and the state of New York doled out plenty of money if you filed for it and could wait for it . We needed heat and hot water (part of my repairs) and we could not wait for weeks for funds to fix up our home. Our credit union gave us a lot of funds to fix up the house at an interest rate of one (1) percent.

The federal government under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave us more than $6,000.00 in non – repayable grants to assist us. The United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave the State of New York billions of dollars as Community Block Grants. New York State then set up an entity called New York Rising. New York Rising eventually gave us more than $12,000 in non-repayable grants to assist us. Now FEMA is requesting some of the grant money to be returned.

If we waiting for each government agency to dole out money and used the money then to fix up, we would be still fixing up. Fortunately we were able to find money right away to fix up.

There are plenty of federal and state agencies with money and suitable programs to help Sandy victims if people know where to go for the assistance.

Some of the federal agencies with financial assistance and or programs to assist are with the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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I volunteered my time and spoke at several community based groups to advise fellow citizens where to obtain funds to fix up their homes.

About The Author

Glenn Michaels - As an op-ed writer, Glenn Michaels is a mortgage underwriting instructor for CampusUnderwriter ( As a BBA & FHA DE Underwriter, Glenn is a Pace University graduate who also graduated from New York University’s School of Mortgage Finance. Glenn has conducted numerous training classes and has worked in the mortgage banking industry for 38 years. 

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