While many across the city remain displaced because of Sandy, NY1 has learned that there are more than 100 unused winterized FEMA trailers sitting in a lot in Pennsylvania. NY1's Michael Herzenberg has the story.
Anthony Avena, his wife and three children managed to escape the flood waters -- he said it was like "living in an action movie. But now it will be a while before they can move back into their home.
"I'm gonna say a minimum of six months," Avena said. "I don't have any money to do this stuff -- it's unfathomable"
Now they're staying across the street in one room of a neighbor's house.
"Seeing my wife upset, seeing my children upset," he said. "That's what kills me that's what I can't handle."
What makes it harder to handle, they said, is learning that there are more than 100 winterized trailers that FEMA has available in a Pennsylvania lot less than three hours away.
"I don't understand what they're doing," Avena said. "A trailer would just give us something that we feel like we're okay, like we're normal."
Michael Taylor leads the recovery effort for the group Gerritsen Beach Cares. He says he already gave up asking FEMA to provide trailers.
"If you can put those FEMA housing in the extra lots that people have throughout the community we can literally give hundreds of people homes," Taylor said.
Instead he's asking the public to donate them.
The McGowans received one Sunday night and put it in the front yard of the shell that was their home.
FEMA said local codes and ordinances are the reason they haven't shipped any trailers down to flood zones.
"Temporary Housing Units are the last option at this time," FEMA told NY1 in an email. "Local codes and ordinances, inability to place temporary housing units in flood zones, and the need for sizable locations with access to existing working infrastructure."
For those in need of shelter that just sounds like more bureaucratic red tape.
"I can't see why in this day and age they can't figure out a way to bring them here," Avena said.
"Americans are homeless and we work really hard for everything we have," Anthony's wife Jennifer Avena said. "Now we have nothing."
Some politicians have said there isn't enough room for trailers in the city. But residents said they can fit them in their driveways and front yards.