MULLICA HILL, N.J. (CBS) – Nine months after the remnants of Ida caused tornados in South Jersey, you can still see some of the aftermath today. Nearly a year later, some homeowners are still struggling to rebuild their lives.
Meanwhile, some of those homeowners are demanding the federal government release some long-awaited money to help them rebuild. Survivors across the state say the federal government has allocated money, but they haven’t received it. They also say that money is not enough.
A group of survivors gathered outside the New Jersey State House Wednesday afternoon, the same day as the start of hurricane season. Meghan Mertyris recalls surviving Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storm Ida, but she says there’s a third storm she’s still fighting through.
“Even worse is the storm after the storm, when the floodwaters are gone and you are left by yourself to pick up the pieces,” Mertyris said.
So far, FEMA has approved about $225 million in housing assistance for individuals after Ida but survivors say they’re still waiting for that money and they argue the amount is not enough.
Congressman Andy Kim is supporting the effort.
“What the people here standing with me are asking for, they’re not asking for the moon,” Rep. Andy Kim said. “They’re asking for fairness. They’re asking for dignity.”
Standing shoulder to shoulder were Superstorm Sandy survivors like Paul Jeffrey. He says the federal government is ordering some of his neighbors to pay back their relief money after the government claims they received too much of it.
“After we’ve been through it,” Jeffrey said. “The best we can do is to say, ‘Look before you take that SBA loan or before you do this or before you do that ask these questions, ask those questions.’”
Many tell Eyewitness News they fear what the future will be like and when, not if, the next storm will arrive.