The owner of a home badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy says she's afraid it's filled with mold and beyond help. She says she'd like nothing better than to tear it down, but it's not that easy. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Two red tags still hang on the door of Kathleen Cole's Midland Beach bungalow, and a sign outside warns visitors that going in would be dangerous.
The whole house was under water after Hurricane Sandy. When Cole and her husband returned two days after the storm, they found the porch wall separated from the front door.
"You can't enter, you know, for fear it will collapse on you or whoever enters, and it's also pulling on the beams on this side of the house," Cole said. "So it's obviously a major safety issue."
Cole wants the house torn down, but a New York City Department of Buildings inspector who visited last week determined it's not in immediate danger of collapse in spite of all the damage.
That means Cole doesn't qualify for FEMA's free emergency demolition plan, and without help from FEMA, Cole said she can't afford to take the house down herself.
"This is not a rich area," Cole said. "People don't have all this money in their bank account to just go and have the work done and get reimbursed for it later."
Aside from fears about the structural integrity of the home, there are also concerns about mold. The house has never been cleaned or gutted out since the storm.
"Everything was just black, green mold," Cole said. "Everything is covered in it."
The mayor's office of housing recovery said Cole has a couple of options.
She can use whatever insurance money she's received to fix the entrance to the house and make it safe to enter, paving the way for volunteers to begin mold remediation. But Cole said she doesn't want to do that.
The city said she can also wait it out, that since new flood guidelines call for homes to be built up 13 feet above potential flood levels, cases like hers will likely qualify for federal funding to rebuild from scratch. That funding is expected to be approved next month.