Hurricane Ida Survivors

Many Hurricane Ida survivors in Tri-State Area say they\’re still struggling to get money from the federal government / CBS New York / April 26, 2023 By Christine Sloanhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLqcMfSDFvk

MANVILLE, N.J. – The remnants of Hurricane Ida devastated many communities in the Tri-State Area. 

Nearly a year and a half later, many Ida survivors say they\’re still struggling to get money they believe the federal government owes them. 

The Borough of Manville was under water after Hurricane Ida in September 2021, with several buildings on fire. Robert and Elizabeth Moskal had to flee their flooded house. 

\”It\’s very overwhelming, especially with two little ones and a 14-year-old,\” Elizabeth Moskal said. 

The couple says they rented another place, and FEMA gave them enough money for two months rent, but that they couldn\’t get help from the agency\’s continued temporary rental assistance program after that. 

\”We … were denied the first time because they were saying we didn\’t submit the proper documentation,\” Robert Moskal said.

They say they reapplied and got the same answer.

\”What I want to say to FEMA is: How do you guys have heart and souls for what you do? You guys told us on the last day of eligibility that we were denied because of a document, which we called every day for three months,\” Robert Moskal said.

The Moskals are back in their home after repairs; it\’s now in foreclosure. A collection agency is looking for back rent, and their credit cards are maxed out.

They\’re not alone.

\”We owe about $85,000, as of right now, on our mortgage,\” Ashley Avila said.

Avila and her family finally got rental assistance from FEMA more than a year later with the same complaints.

\”It was a nightmare. Very frustrating. We just lost everything. We have six children, so just trying to get just, you know, a little bit of assistance would have helped us,\” Avila said.

\”The two folks that you have talked to are just two of many, many who have missed this opportunity,\” said Meghan Martyrs, of the New Jersey Organizing Project.

She helped both families and hundreds of others through New Jersey Organizing Project but estimates hundreds didn\’t even get the chance to apply for FEMA\’s rental assistance.

\”FEMA in general in Hurricane Ida in New Jersey messed up,\” Martyrs said.

FEMA said the agency has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in assistance to Ida survivors, adding 10,000 survivors got the initial help, but 150-200 were eligible for assistance for up to 18 months.

Martyrs said she\’ll make sure the Moskals – Elizabeth a disabled veteran – and others get their cases reviewed and audited.

FEMA officials add that documents and proof of identity are important to make sure people who need the money will get the help.

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