STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - It takes Mary Lou Barcia a long time to walk up the stairs to her New Dorp Beach home.
Barcia, who is mildly disabled, should be using the elevator installed by a contractor hired under the city's Build it Back program.
"But I’m afraid I’m afraid every time it breaks...they come and it cost me money and I don’t have that money," she says.
Mayor de Blasio visited Barcia's Staten Island home three years ago, hailing the work on it as success story under Build it Back, which was created to fix and storm-proof houses damaged by Hurricane Sandy. But Barcia says she's spent thousands of dollars of her own money since then repairing the city's work.
And it's not just the elevator that's needed fixing.
"We are cold here," she says.
Barcia’s home was elevated to protect it from any future floodwaters. But that made her water pipes susceptible to freezing. She’s had to use space heaters and keep the water running to prevent that from happening. Build It Back contractors returned repeatedly but never resolved the freezing issue.
With the warranty on the work long expired, Barcia spent $25,000 of her own money to fix deficiencies she thinks the city should have corrected.
"The wind would come through and it would freeze. They tell me wind is what freezes the pipes. So now that we're closed in, I’m hoping that there's not going to be wind," she says.
Build It Back says Work on 99 percent of the nearly 2,000 Staten Island homes in the program is under way or has been completed -- and so it plans to close its borough office later this month.
But the closing of this field office has homeowners like Barcia worried about where they’ll go as they continue to struggle with problems stemming from the renovation and elevation of their homes.
"You left us high and dry, you know, what are we supposed to do? This is all lower class; we’re not rich people down here, you know what I mean? And now we’re having all these problems and where do we turn? Who do we turn to?" Barcia says.
Build it Back says it is discussing how to help homeowners who continue to experience problems, especially with houses elevated. The agency says residents who still need help after their warranties expire can contact the program's customer service department at 212-615-8329.