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SI Officials Try To Aid Hurricane-Devastated Homeowners

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Elected officials on Staten Island are trying to come up with a program that helps hurricane-devastated homeowners get fair market value for their property. NY1's Monica Brown filed the following report.

Adam Wright and his wife Kelly are still paying the mortgage at 95 Kissam Avenue as well as the rent on their new apartment. Rebuilding after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy is not an option.

"We put our heart and soul into redoing the house," Adam Wright says. "The house was completely remodeled from the time I bought it 'til my daughter was born last year. We did everything. Every piece of sheet rock. Every floorboard."

The Wrights are interested in a program Staten Island's elected officials are trying to put together that would tap federal, state and city funds to buy property from devastated homeowners.

"I've spoken to many constituents who've said 'I'm done, I can't go back there, I don't want to go back there, I can't go through this again,'" says Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

The goal is to give homeowners close to pre-hurricane fair market value for their land, which would then be used as open space. It's not clear yet who would oversee this program or which properties would qualify, but Malliotakis says sites like Kissam Avenue would present a unique opportunity.

"The idea is that if the government does purchase this property, is that it would hopefully be added to the bluebelt system or the wetlands system so that way, we would prevent people from building here in the future, because we know the potential devastation that could occur," Malliotakis says.

"When you go the end of the block and look at the beach, the berm is gone," Adam Wright says. "I don't know how you could build a house here."

City and state officials say they'll be out in their communities, and they'll be using their Facebook pages to compile a list of interested constituents. They'll also be hosting town-hall meetings in the coming weeks to let people know that this could potentially be an option.

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