NEW YORK - On the very same corner the city promised to clean up and rebuild homes flooded by sewage water, residents rallied and said an entire year later that still has not happened.
“We are not going away until every claim is settled,” said Aracelia Cook of the South Ozone Park Civic Association.
What You Need To Know
- A year after flooding ruined homes in Queens, residents rally, calling on the city to follow through with their promise to help fix the homes
- Residents say the city is delaying compensating them and not compensating them enough
- The comptrollers office say they have offered settlements to 85% of claims filed
Last Thanksgiving weekend, a 42-inch sewage pipe collapsed, backing up anywhere from a few inches to a few feet of smelly sewage water into more than a hundred homes.
The flooding displaced many families and cased hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
The delay in being compensated from the city caused Janice Harmon to use all her savings and even dip into her 401k.
“We shouldn’t have to feel like we have to beg you for anything. We didn’t even want you here. We just want back what we deserve, what we put in,” pleaded Harmon.
Some residents say they haven’t received any money from the city at all.
Others who have, said they were given a fraction of what they spent to fix it.
Rishad Mubarak bought his home four days before the flooding and has not received any compensation from the city.
“Fixing up the house and maxing out my credit cards and defaulting mortgages. I filed the claim and have not heard anything from the city. I want my settlement so I can go on with my life,” said Mubarak.
Initially, the Department of Environmental Protection blamed the homeowners, saying the backup was caused from cooking grease being dumped down the drain.
They have since back tracked and discovered it was instead a failure in the city’s infrastructure.
Residents say the process of filing a claim to receive compensation has been overly complicated and unfair.
Some say they accepted the first offer made to them out of desperation.
“You just have to do right. We are living crazy. Why do we deserve to live like this? We don’t need help. We need what is right,” said homeowner Jacqueline Cleveland.
The city comptroller’s office in charge of paying out claims filed by homeowners, say they have been working with residents since day one.
Adding, they have offered settlements to 85 percent of homeowners’ claims.
Fourteen homeowners have filed a lawsuit against the city.