Staten Islanders displaced by Hurricane Sandy are wondering where they will spend the holidays this year and want the city to provide housing trailers for residents who need them, but the idea is not popular with elected officials, who say the trailers are a bad fit in the city. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Topping Street in New Dorp Beach looks like any other storm-ravaged block on Staten Island's east shore: homes without power, uninhabitable, signs of life just beginning to show.
But outside Debbie Ingentio's home, which was flooded by nearly seven feet of water, a tree that managed to survive Hurricane Sandy is now decorated for Christmas.
Ingentio said she and her husband decorated the tree to give her neighbors a sense of home during the holiday season:
"The homes here, it's the people's nest," she said. "They don't want to be far away from home."
Officials said close to 400 people still need housing because of the storm, and that's why residents are hoping the Federal Emergency Management Agency will bring temporary housing trailers to Staten Island.
"My kids are like all over the place," said resident Diane Camarda. "We have no vehicles. They were washed away. So we're all over the place."
However, at a town hall meeting held last week, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro told residents he believed trailers weren't necessary, citing the steep cost and necessary infrastructure they would require. He also said that Miller Field, widely suggested as a site for building the trailers, could not work because it is in a flood zone.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg agreed with him.
"The trouble with the trailers is they're expensive," Bloomberg said. "They disrupt the neighborhood. They're difficult. They get in the way of trying to do, what we're trying to do is get people back.
Residents said they know there's no quick fix for the housing crisis created by the storm.
That's why they said elected officials should be thinking outside the box as they try to come up with a solution for the problem.
"People are, they're broken. They really are," said resident Mike Reilly. "They're trying to build up not only their own homes, they're trying to build up their own esteem and their family's. This is a tough time. This, definitely, this definitely needs to be looked at from all angles."
Appearing on Inside City Hall Monday night, Molinaro seemed to agree, saying officials are looking at long-term hotels and the availability of apartments for residents to find some place to call home.