Sandy Victims Receive Free Home Assessments Through New Program

A new program is meant to help Queens residents strengthen their homes against future storms. NY1's Shannan Ferry has that story from Far Rockaway.

Christopher Jonny's basement was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. 

It's renovated now, but water flooded the home during the storm. 

"Oh it was terrible, the water just started rising, kept rising, and then it started coming in," he said. 

Now, Jonny is taking steps to protect his property. 

He's participating in a new resiliency program by The Center for NYC Neighborhoods.

The non-profit is providing free home assessments to residents who live in high-risk flood zones.

"Should something like this happen again, we're at least better prepared, I mean we're not going to stop it but anything we can do to slow it down," said Jonny. 

The idea is to help residents assess and mitigate the potential impacts of future storms. 

Mike Villanueva is the engineer assigned to evaluate Jonny's home.

"People suffered during Hurricane Sandy, so try to minimize that as much as possible, and keep people in their homes," said Villanueva. 

Program organizers said it takes about three weeks to complete a full report after the home visit. 

One recommendation for Jonny's home is to relocate the water heater to above the flood level.

"And after the reports complete, we set them up with a counselor for a one-on-one counseling session to discuss the results," said Rachel Eve Stein, who works with the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. 

Participants can also receive free elevation certificates, which organizers said is valued at about $700. ​

The program is being funded through the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery. 

As for Jonny, he's grateful for the opportunity. 

He's hoping there will never be another storm like Sandy, but if there is he said he now feels much more prepared.

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