Restore the Shore: Insurance Woes

May 16, 2013 12:25:32 PM PDT
A lot of the houses near the beach are people's second homes. That means owners have had to jump through a lot of hoops to get help rebuilding after Sandy. ORTLEY BEACH, N.J. - May 16, 2013

Linda Ferraro of Seaside Heights is one of those people in limbo. She lost her job three years ago, doesn't qualify for FEMA grants and is unsure what to do about a storm-damaged rental house in Seaside Heights that until she picked up a part-time job recently, was her only source of income. She's frustrated.

"We pay thousands and thousands of tax dollars to the state of New Jersey and the municipalities," Ferraro said, "yet we are treated as second-class citizens because we're secondary homeowners. Everybody thinks we have all this money and we don't!"

Officials at the Hurricane Sandy Resource Center in Toms River say they are dealing with families every day who want to move on, but for various reasons can't.

"They are rustling around with the insurance companies and with FEMA and they still don't have certain answers of elevation levels," Courtney Chibbaro, Resource Center Director, said. "They don't know whether to gut their house or leave it be."

Some of the people who want to begin repairing or rebuilding homes are frustrated. They complain about delays getting the permits to do the work.

"We've hired extra people. We have people coming in on overtime starting at 7 o'clock Saturday morning. We've got thousands and thousands of applications so I can understand their frustration," Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher said.