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Town Hall Held For Queens Residents Affected By Sandy

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TWC News: Town Hall Held For Queens Residents Affected By Sandy
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Hundreds of storm victims in the Rockaways met with government officials Wednesday to have their questions answered. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Flood victims lined up to ask questions about health and infrastructure. Some worried about safety now and in the future.

"We're very lucky another Nor'easter hasn't hit our shores, but it's going to happen," said one resident. "We have no beach to protect us."

Each of the more than 200 people who packed the St. Francis de Salle Church had their own personal problems and pain.

"FEMA has given us rental assistance," said one. "I cannot find any place to rent."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, the New York City Departments of Health, Financial Services, and Rapid Repairs tried to answer the questions.

But one by one, dozens of storm ravaged Rockaway residents left the meeting for a different meeting, one with experts from different agencies to address specific solutions.

"One's telling me my house is a total disaster, we might have to level it, and they're telling me they're coming in and putting a boiler in," said one resident. "I don't know what's going on."

One woman and her mother's home took on six feet of water.

"We have nothing left," she said. "The car's gone, the house gone, everything."

They survived the storm and, like hundreds of their neighbors in the Rockaways, they now struggle to make it through the recovery.

On one block, you can see a family that's made little progress. Across the street, Christmas lights adorn a building and a flag flies. Some doors down, the same patriotism blows over a pile of rubble, homes destroyed by fire. The rebuilding process here has yet to begin.

One woman and her mom made a little progress at the meeting, but they know they have to be patient.

"Rapid Repair, I have to give them a break," she said. "It is a new program and they're trying to help us. So now, we just have to give them a chance to do it."

There were some complaints about bureaucratic red tape. FEMA responded by saying the $188 million given to Queens families so far is taxpayer money. Officials are trying to make sure it gets spent properly.

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