A grass-roots, civic-style, public meeting was held on Sunday night in East Rockaway, attracting two dozen people, some of whom are still waiting to get back into their homes since Hurricane Sandy changed their lives and where they currently reside.
Mediated by concerned citizen Dan Caracciolo, some of the topics discussed included FEMA and SBA concerns, hazard mitigation measures, and most importantly, how to get the word out to people who need the information the most.
Suggestions were made to hand out flyers, leave information in mailboxes, and create a panel that would include those who have had positive experiences with a particular issue, for example, FEMA grants and hazard mitigation, and how to reach others.
“I’d like this to progress to something outside of Sandy relief,” said Caracciolo, “but [for now] we want to get information out … and share that information.”
Some residents had good experiences calling Village Hall, with a building inspector coming out within a few days. Others pointed out that those who are under the Town of Hempstead jurisdiction — which includes the Bay Park residents — will need to get their own structural engineer, at a cost of maybe $500 to $1,000. One woman asked FEMA for a trailer and was told, she said, ironically, that she could not have one because her house was in a flood zone.
East Rockaway library clerk Sue Daitz said that she could spend her entire day talking to and helping people who are victims of Sandy. “Nobody knows what to do,” she said. “People are sitting in their destroyed houses, without a clue as to what to do next. We need to help them.”
Topics Discussed at the meeeting included: