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Sandy Victims Seek Free Advice At Staten Island Clinic

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TWC News: Sandy Victims Seek Free Advice At Staten Island Clinic
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Several organizations are getting together to offer one-on-one help for storm victims. NY1's Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.

Staten Island resident Denise Squeri says she's feeling beaten down by the paperwork, the red tape and the bureaucracy after Hurricane Sandy dumped seven feet of water into her Oakwood Beach home and wiped out $80,000 of repairs she made last year following Hurricane Irene.

"Everything is gone. My neighbors are devastated," Squeri said.

Squeri says her insurance company didn't assess the amount of damage her home sustained from Hurricane Sandy. So she came to the Relief Clinic at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island to file a complaint. The Federal Reserve Bank brought together 15 agencies from the public, private and non-profit sectors. People brought their documents & their questions. They got face to face legal and insurance advice and loan information.

"They are going to get someone who who is an expert guiding them hopefully to help and to resources that many of them may not be aware of," said Federal Reserve Bank of New York Director Claire Kramer.

Staten Island resident Rosemarie Hall is leaning heavily on some of the agencies right now. She's been bouncing from shelter to shelter. The Hilton Garden Inn is now home until her house is repaired.

"Thank God the FEMA people have been absolutely wonderful," Hall said.

But the recovery will come in fits and starts over the course of months. For those such as Squeri the long term fears surrounding whether it's safe to stay and rebuild can be overwhelming.

"My children are pushing us to have the holidays and I'm trying to keep it together that way," Squeri said.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has launched a website at www.newyorkfed.org/sandyrelief.html. It should be an enormous resource to people impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

It will contain an online handbook with common legal issues. There will also be a link to a hotline where people can call and get free legal advice.

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