Tag Archives: FEMA

Schumer pushes for co-op, condo Sandy relief


| mchan@queenscourier.com

New York’s senior senator has joined the ranks of leaders pushing for relief to storm-damaged co-ops and condos.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last Wednesday asking the agency to establish Sandy relief program guidelines for co-ops and condos.

Co-op and condo owners currently cannot receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants for Sandy-inflicted damages because they are categorized as “business associations,” according to elected federal officials. The title makes them eligible for federal loans but not grants.

“After Sandy, FEMA was able to help many communities. However, due to inflexible bureaucratic rules, co-op and condo homeowners were left in the wake,” Schumer said.

The Stafford Act, which governs how FEMA responds to major disasters, does not include the word “co-op” in the law, according to Congressmember Steve Israel. But there is no statute that purposefully bans co-op owners from being eligible for grants, a privilege given to homeowners.

Schumer called on HUD officials to use Community Development Block Grants Disaster Recovery funds to help co-op and condo owners repair and rebuild.

HUD allocated $5.4 billion to the recovery program early last week. New Yorkers are eligible to receive about $3.5 billion of that total.

Some Queens co-ops suffered $1 million in damages, including Cryder Point Co-ops, a waterfront community which has to repair its shambled pier.

More than half of the total buildings in Glen Oaks Village endured “moderate to severe shingle loss,” according to Bob Friedrich, the co-op’s president. The co-op will have to shell out $250,000 for infrastructural damage.

And nearly 3,000 Mitchell-Lama co-ops in the Rockaways are forced to shoulder repair costs, said Dolores Orr, co-op owner and president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association.

“It is astonishing to me that residential co-op buildings are not being afforded any financial assistance in the recovery from Sandy,” she said. “We are homeowners just like those who live in … family houses.”

 

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New program to help with post-Sandy mold damage


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Though FEMA assistance can help homeowners deal with some of the devastating effects of Sandy, there is no direct federal funding for mold removal.

A new program aims to solve that issue for around 2,000 homes in hard-hit areas.

Using private money raised to help storm victims, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, in partnership with the American Red Cross and Robin Hood Foundation, is sponsoring a $15 million mold remediation program, Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced.

The mold treatment will be performed free of charge by private contractors and nonprofit organizations.

“Through our first-of-its-kind Rapid Repairs program, we have helped more than 15,000 families return to their homes. But mold remains a challenge that many residents are confronting,” said Bloomberg.

“More than three months after Hurricane Sandy, while recovery and rebuilding is ongoing, families are beginning to discover that mold is a serious concern for their families,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. “For most, mold remediation was too costly or when done, not addressed properly and now with summer season approaching, mold can have a very dangerous effect on our health and environment.”

The Mayor’s Fund is also sponsoring free training sessions on mold remediation, where thousands of free mold supply will be distributed.

Below is a list of the first series of these mold treatment sessions. The locations will continue to be updated as they are scheduled. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov or by calling 311.

January 31, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Shorefront Y (Spanish Only)
3300 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11235

February 2, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Gerritsen Beach Fire Department
43 Seba Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11229

February 4, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Gerritsen Beach Fire Department
43 Seba Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11229

February 4, 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
P.S. 195
131 Irwin Street
Brooklyn, NY 11235

February 5, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Gospel Assembly Church
2828 Neptune Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11224

February 5, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Bayswater Jewish Center
2355 Healy Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

February 23, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
CYO-MIV Community Center at Mount Loretto
6541 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10309

February 9, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
St. Clare’s Parish
137-35 Brookville Boulevard
Queens, NY 11422

February 13, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
P.S. 277
2529 Gerritsen Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11229

February 13, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island
3001 West 37th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11224

February 13, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Bayswater Jewish Center
2355 Healy Avenue
Far Rockaway, NY 11691

February 16, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
St. Clare’s Parish
137-35 Brookville Boulevard
Queens, NY 11422

February 16, 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Oasis Church
539 Greeley Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10306

 

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Bloomberg suspends height restrictions on buildings following new flood elevation standards


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed an executive order ordering to suspend height restrictions on buildings so they can meet new flood elevation standards following Sandy.

“We are beginning the process of updating our building code and zoning regulations so that new construction meets standards that reflect the best available data about flood and climate risks,” said Bloomberg.

The city also increased the required minimum flood proofing elevation in order for buildings to be able to withstand further damage in the future.

“This limited and targeted suspension of zoning regulations in the flood zones shown on the newly issued FEMA flood-risk maps will help ensure that new and rebuilt homes and businesses and other buildings will be safeguarded from coastal flood waters,” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden.

The city recently released data from FEMA about coastal flood risk and giving residents advice on how to rebuild in the case of damage. The updated maps were the first significant change in more than 25 years.

The city plans to work with the federal government to put in assistance programs for those affected by Sandy, helping them to meet the new elevation standards.

 

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Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Rosedale added to FEMA flood map


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

fema MAP

Howard Beach, Lindenwood and Rosedale were added to FEMA’s latest advisory map on flood zone elevation in an attempt to avoid the same volume of flooding and damage experienced during Sandy.

“This is the first in a series of steps on what will become the regulatory guidance,” FEMA coordinating officer Mike Byrne told NY1. “We want to give them the most current data we can.”

This is the first map FEMA has made for the New York City area in 30 years, he said.

Byrne said these maps will prompt home and business owners to rebuild higher than before, and it was FEMA’s goal to get some information out as soon as possible as people want to rebuild now.

The finalized map might not come out for another two years, he said, but the advisory map could be used now on rebuilding homes. A future map would be based on the current advisories and not the older maps, he said.

“At the end of the day this is to sort of eliminate some of the suffering we’ve seen as a result of storms like Sandy,” he said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast. Fog early. High of 54. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the East in the afternoon. Chance of rain 20%. Tuesday Night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 41. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Queens Public Library book event with NYT author Carl Weber

Carl Weber is a Queens native and a New York Times bestselling author. Join him as he celebrates the release of his latest book, “The Man in 3B,” with refreshments and big fun at the Queens Central Library on January 29 at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

MTA delays new system that will replace MetroCards with ‘smart’ debit or credit cards

The MTA is delaying implementation of a new fare-payment system that will replace the MetroCard. Read more: New York Daily News

More non-union school bus drivers spark heated protests

A heated protest is expected Tuesday morning over New York City’s ongoing school bus strike. Read more: ABC New York

State seeking suitors to build new Kosciuszko Bridge

State officials are creating a short-list of suitors that will get a chance to reshape a vital link between Brooklyn and Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

New FEMA flood maps double number of local at-risk homes

Some New Yorkers who saw their homes badly damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy will have to rebuild three to six feet above their house’s current level. Read more: NY1

Ex-Mayor Ed Koch re-hospitalized after 2 days

he spokesman for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch says he’s been re-admitted to the hospital two days after he was released. Read more: ABC New York

Some New York City restaurants ban food photography by customers

If you’re one of the thousands of people who snap pictures of your food and instantly share them on social media, you might be surprised to learn that some restaurants are now banning photos of their food. Read more: CBS New York

Obama launches push for immigration overhaul

Seeking swift action on immigration, President Barack Obama on Tuesday will try to rally public support behind his proposals for giving millions of illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, as well as making improvements to the legal immigration system and border security. Read more: AP

FEMA extends Sandy relief programs


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is extending relief programs for victims of Sandy.

The Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, which allows those who lost their homes in the storm to stay in participating hotels and motels across New York, will extended for an additional 14 days, until February 9. Those who wish to participate in the program must be checked in by January 26.

“We remain committed to assisting all victims of Hurricane Sandy, ensuring that they have the shelter they need, especially in this cold weather, Cuomo said. “The Transitional Sheltering Assistance program will continue to provide shelter to those New Yorkers who do not have homes to return and help others with critically needed funding to rebuild.”

The Individual Assistance program, which gives victims of the storm funds to repair their homes or small businesses, will now have a 30-day extended deadline.

Those in need of assistance can apply online at www.disasterassistance.gov, via smartphone or tablet by using the FEMA app or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362).

 

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Law keeps co-op owners from receiving federal storm recovery grants


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A glitch in the law is keeping co-op owners from receiving federal storm recovery grants, officials said.

According to Congressmember Steve Israel, co-ops are shouldering the costs of repair for Sandy-inflicted damages because they are categorized as “business associations,” making them ineligible for federal grants — only loans.

The Stafford Act, which governs how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) responds to major disasters, does not include the word “co-op” in the law, Israel said. But there is no statute that purposefully bans co-op owners from being eligible for grants, a privilege given to homeowners.

“FEMA is taking an overzealous interpretation to this,” said Israel. “It discriminates against co-op owners. It’s one thing to be devastated by a hurricane. It’s another to be devastated by a loophole.”

Cryder Point Co-ops suffered $1 million in damage that left their waterfront community’s pier in shambles, said Phil Resnick, vice president of the co-op’s board of directors.

More than half of the total buildings in Glen Oaks Village endured “moderate to severe shingle loss,” leading to $250,000 in infrastructural damages, said Bob Friedrich, the co-op’s president. The unbudgeted costs also include the removal of downed trees.

“Housing co-ops are not business associations. We do not generate income based on corporate or private profit,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “Many middle-class shareholders who are already experiencing financial difficulties will not be able to absorb the additional charges.”

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Bloomberg says city will rebuild smarter along shore


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DSC_0128w

Despite record storm surges, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to rebuild along the shore, but said it must be “smarter, stronger and more sustainable.”

Bloomberg made the remarks at the New York Marriott Downtown to an audience that included former Vice President Al Gore.

“Let me be clear: We are not going to abandon the waterfront,” Bloomberg said. “We are not going to leave the Rockaways or Coney Island or Staten Island’s South Shore. But we can’t just rebuild what was there and hope for the best.”

The city’s more than 500 miles of shoreline include some of the most desirable places to live, but also the most vulnerable.

Bloomberg announced the launch of an engineering analysis of coastal protection strategies to understand the best options to help protect the city.

An expansion of Zone A will be considered, he said, as well as new structural requirements to ensure that buildings can withstand intense winds and waves. While sea walls are not a likely option, dunes, jetties and levees must be considered to protect the city from rising storm surges, he said.

“We may or may not see another storm like Sandy in our lifetimes, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that we should leave it to our children to prepare for the possibility,” said Bloomberg. “And sea levels are expected to rise by another two and a half feet by the time a child born today reaches 40 years old, and that’s going to make surges even more powerful and dangerous.”

More than two-thirds of homes damaged by Sandy were outside of FEMA’s 100-year flood maps. The maps are drawn to represent an area likely to be flooded about once per century.

“No matter how much we do to make homes and businesses more resilient, the fact of the matter is we live next to the ocean, and the ocean comes with risks that we just cannot eliminate,” Bloomberg said.

Queens Library helping Rockaways get back on their feet


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Library

Flood waters crashed through the glass front of the Queens Library’s Peninsula branch during Sandy, turning its aisles into rivers and damaging books, videos and equipment. A similar scene could be found at the Arverne, Seaside and Broad Channel branches.

A month later, a temporary building is up and running in Arverne, while one is scheduled to be constructed at Peninsula, where a mobile library unit has been parked since the Friday after the storm.

“When the book bus pulled up in Peninsula after the storm, people were just walking the streets back and forth, they didn’t know where to start,” said Joanne King, Queens Library’s director of communications.

In the days following the storm, residents were able to visit the temporary locations — and Far Rockaway, which avoided significant damage — to speak with librarians who aided them in applying for benefits, FEMA aid and temporary jobs. Best Buy donated laptop computers and printers for Arverne’s temporary location.

“The library really felt that it was our duty to be there,” King said.

The Broad Channel branch is scheduled to open by the end of January, but the other three branches remain without a timetable. The library estimates it sustained $6.5 million in capital damage during the storm, to go along with the more than 100,000 books and videos that were destroyed.

The library is also facing a $2.7 million cut in the mayor’s proposed midyear budget, which is yet to be passed.

To get back on its feet, King said the library will be relying on emergency campaigns from the Queens Library Foundation. Residents who want to donate to the library can do so by visiting www.queenslibraryfoundation.org.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 61. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 52. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT of the DAY: Copy Cat at Resorts World Casino New York City

See Copy Cat perform tonight at Resorts World. The band describes themselves as four guys who can be anyone you want them to be, playing anything from Bob Marley to Limp Bizkit to Frank Sinatra. But what we really makes them unique are the sounds of the Caribbean: Soca, Calypso, Reggae, anything that will get you off your chair and onto the dance floor. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens woman charged in 28-year-old cold case

A Queens woman is under arrest, accused in a murder that happened in Louisiana nearly three decades ago. Read more: ABC New York

Bloomberg asked Clinton to consider succeeding him as mayor

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has long struggled to imagine a successor with the combination of star power, experience and grit to fill his shoes. Read more: New York Times

Man pushed in front of train, killed, at Midtown subway station

Police on Monday night released new surveillance video in the search for a suspect who shoved a man onto the subway tracks for a train to strike him and kill him. Read more: CBS New York

City violations an added insult to storm victims in Queens

Queens civic leaders and homeowners are furious with city officials for allowing inspectors to slap them with violations just days after Superstorm Sandy sent trees crashing into their homes. Read more: New York Daily News

FEMA has more than 100 unused, winterized trailers in Pennsylvania lot

Anthony Avena, his wife and three children managed to escape the flood waters — he said it was like “living in an action movie. But now it will be a while before they can move back into their home. Read more: NY1

U.S. Navy denies Iran drone capture claim

Iran said on Tuesday it had captured a U.S. intelligence drone in its airspace over the Gulf in the last few days, but the U.S. military quickly denied having lost any unmanned aircraft in the Middle East. Read more: Reuters

 

 

Insurance help for Howard Beach homeowners


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Residents in Howard Beach are still seeking relief for Sandy damages that, at the moment, seem irreparable.

“Everything we’ve worked for was gone within three minutes,” said Judy Hintze, an area homeowner. “The water filled up to the ceiling.”

Hintze’s elderly mother lives in her basement, which was inundated by seven feet of water during the storm. She has since sought any kind of compensation from her insurance company, the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) and most recently, the NYC Department of Financial Services (DFS).

The DFS set up shop in their mobile unit outside of St. Helen’s Church in Howard Beach on Wednesday, November 28 to help residents contact their insurers if they have been unable to do so, answer questions about homowners, renters and business insurance coverage, and give them advice on where to go from here. DFS representatives were also stationed inside St. Helen’s, welcoming and advising the many people who came in.

“It’s a very rewarding feeling to be able to help consumers that have been directly affected by the storm,” said Martin Schwartzman, senior advisor to the superintendent at the DFS. “If someone hasn’t been treated fairly or hasn’t gotten what they believe they are entitled to, we are able to intercede.”

Under the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the DFS mobile unit has been able to travel to a different storm-affected area daily.

Hintze received $10,000 from FEMA for her damages, but knows that unfortunately that is not enough to restore everything that was lost. Her mother, at 81 years old, had open-heart surgery three weeks prior, and is only left with a pair of pajamas.

“We had to scoop her medication out of the water,” said Hintze. Her mother’s prescriptions have since been refilled, free of charge, but only after Hintze physically picked out pills from the flood.

“I feel like I have [post-traumatic stress disorder],” she said.

The DFS was in Howard Beach to help people like Hintze, looking to give advice and explain the process for applying and receiving coverage.

“I think there’s been a lot of confusion about insurance, the process to go through and coordinating with disaster recovery,” said Schwartzman. “A lot of people have complained about the timeliness to get an adjuster to do an inspection [on their home].”

Schwartzman also said they wanted to clear up any confusion regarding what is covered by a homeowners’ policy and flood insurance.

“I’m just trying to get the funds to get me back,” said Hintze. “Any little bit will help.”

Gov. Cuomo receives high marks for Sandy response


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

In a new Siena College poll, the majority of New York State voters said they were happy with how Governor Andrew Cuomo has handled the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

According to the results, 67 percent felt that the governor has done an excellent or good job, 22 percent said he has done a fair job and seven percent said he’s done a poor job.

In New York City, a slightly higher percentage, 70 percent, gave Cuomo a high rating.

In an effort to help with Sandy relief,  the  governor is travelling to Washington D.C. today to lobby for about $42 billion that the state needs to recover from the storm and protect itself from the next significant weather event.

State voters were almost as pleased with how President Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg handled the superstorm.

Sixty-one percent said that Obama did an excellent or good job and 55 percent gave Bloomberg the same rating.

In a Quinnipiac University poll from two weeks ago, New York City voters thought that Obama did a better job than Governor Cuomo, but gave him higher marks than Bloomberg.

But in the same poll, voters also rated New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s handling of the storm and its aftermath higher than all three politicians.

The Siena poll did not ask state voters about Christie.

It did, however, ask about the utility companies, FEMA and the MTA.

The majority of voters were pleased with FEMA and the Metropolitan Transit Agency, but gave Con Edison mixed ratings.

Forty-nine percent said that Con Ed did a good or excellent job, while 29 percent said the utility did a fair job and 15 percent gave it a poor rating.

Voters were not as happy with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), which has received criticism on how it has responded to the storm.

Only one in six Long Islanders said LIPA did an excellent or good job with post-Sandy power problems, and 60 percent said it performed poorly.

The poll also asked about other aspects of Sandy, including how the storm affected voters—from home and business damage to school closings and power outages.

“Nearly one in seven voters suffered damage to their home, including one-quarter of downstate suburbanites. More than one-third lost their power, including more than eight in ten suburbanites.  And more than two-thirds of  New Yorkers saw their schools close for at least a day, and one-third had schools closed for at least a week,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg  “Not in a very long time has a natural disaster directly affected more New Yorkers than Sandy.

Additionally, the poll found that more than half of New Yorkers have made a financial contribution to a charitable organization raising money for those affected by Sandy, and 26 percent have volunteered their time.

The storm may have also forced New Yorkers to take global warming more seriously.

Because of Sandy and other significant storms from the last couple of years, 69 percent believe that they climate change is real.

Grant will put residents affected by Sandyback to work


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Thousands knocked onto the unemployment line by Sandy can now head back to work, while also helping fellow residents affected by the storm.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a $27 million federal grant to put 5,000 unemployed New Yorkers to work cleaning up areas ravaged by the storm.

The funds were provided by a National Emergency Grant.

“As New York State begins to rebuild and clean up after the incredible destruction caused by Sandy, the enormous amount of work to be done gives us a chance to provide young and unemployed New Yorkers with job opportunities cleaning up their communities,” said Cuomo.

The Department of Labor is working with local officials in affected areas to identify locations to dispatch the cleanup and rebuilding crews. An additional 700 New Yorkers are set to be hired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to replace out of state employees that descended on the state after Sandy.

Unemployment claims skyrocketed in the aftermath of Sandy, with 46,000 more residents requesting unemployment insurance after the storm, approximately a 33 percent increase. Prior to Sandy, the unemployment rate fell from 8.9 percent to 8.7 percent in October, according to the Department of Labor.

“What is the economic impact of those claims? When are those people going back to work? What happened to those businesses?” asked Cuomo.

Besides the unemployment claims, 265,000 businesses were affected by Sandy, the governor said.

“There was a tremendous loss of valuable commercial property, much of it in downtown Manhattan. It could be another month before some of those buildings come back online,” he said. “That’s a lot of jobs, that’s a lot of economic loss for the state”

Residents in disaster areas may be eligible for federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) relief which is open to those injured during the storm and unable to work, were unable to reach their job because of transportation issues or if their workplace was destroyed.

Interested unemployed residents can log onto www.labor.ny.gov/sandyjobs or http://www.labor.ny.gov/jobs/regional.shtm to apply.

Federal agencies aid LIC small businesses


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Dozens of small business owners brought to the end of their ropes by Superstorm Sandy received a helping hand in Long Island City.

“You’re overwhelmed by losing your business and then you have to fill out paperwork on top of it,” said Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica Restaurant. “One guy said it would be easier to go bankrupt, but it’s clear there are other ways to do things.”

Representatives from the Small Business Administration and FEMA doled out financial aid to some 22 hurting businesses on Tuesday, November 27 at the restaurant. The agents answered questions and helped owners eligible for both physical disaster and economic injury loans file for assistance.

“It was extraordinary, plain and simple. It gave me a lot of hope,” said Cerbone-Teoli, who suffered flooding in her restaurant’s basement and lost all perishables and food in the freezer. “They were very helpful.”

The Vernon Boulevard restaurant owner said the federal representatives were even able to calm down irate and panicked business owners.

“They brought it down to another level,” Cerbone-Teoli said. “They came out, they answered questions, and they went beyond their call of duty. It was just amazing what they did.”

Howard Beach residents, businesses fuming over lack of insurance, gov’t assistance


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

At $9,000 a year, JoAnn Ambrosio thought she had the “Rolls Royce” of insurance. But when four feet of water flooded her Howard Beach home during Sandy, she was left scrambling.

Living in Zone B, Ambrosio was not required to purchase a policy that provided protection from floods — a service that for $400 extra, she wished she owned.

“My insurance company doesn’t even want to talk to me,” said Ambrosio. “I put in a claim and they denied it.”

The realtor, whose rental property was destroyed in the storm, said FEMA refused to offer help with the property she leases because it is registered as a business. She is awaiting notification about a small business loan she requested.

Ambrosio estimates she lost $250,000 between her home and her rental property.

“I’m just looking for every resource,” said Ambrosio. “I did receive help from FEMA but it’s not enough to cover both pieces of property. They did give me a check but it’s not enough to cover the extent of the damage that occurred there — I don’t understand why FEMA doesn’t help small businesses. That just adds insult to injury.”

At a forum at Roma View Catering Hall on Tuesday, November 27, Ambrosio and roughly 50 other homeowners and merchants filled out claims and spoke with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, expressing their frustrations over underperforming insurance companies and lack of government assistance.

“This will not be quick, although we wish it was. We’ve got to stick with it until it’s done,” said de Blasio.

One homeowner, who only received $6,000 from FEMA to cover $17,000 in damages, said her insurance company refused to cover anything because Sandy was a storm and not a hurricane.

Angelo Gurino, owner of Ragtime grocery store on Cross Bay Boulevard, hoped the meeting might bring some clarity among the mess of insurance paperwork. The small business owner said his electrical system — newly installed for $68,000 — experienced the most damage. Gurino estimates rebuilding will run somewhere between $50,000 to $75,000.

“I hate to see the bill when I get it,” he said.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, whose home and office were damaged by Sandy, said the event was to ensure residents that they have not been forgotten.

“The government hasn’t forgotten about them,” said Goldfeder. “There are still people who care about them and the community and about finding ways to rebuild — it’s not the end of the road.”