Hurricane Sandy Victims Still Living In Trailers 16 Months Later – What’s Taking So Long?

Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer

Natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and its predecessors, Katrina, Ike and others have resulted in billions of dollars in home damage and destruction.  However, victims of Hurricane Sandy seem to be waiting longer than ever to get their homeowners’ insurance claims paid and receive federal assistance.

Sadly, many Hurricane Sandy victims in New York and New Jersey are still living in “temporary” trailers 16 months after the storm hit in October 2012. Many of the trailers sit on the lots they own and where their homes once stood.  At this point, everyone wants to know – what’s taking so long?

Playing the Blame Game

According to, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and other top state officials blame federal red tape, in particular historic and environmental reviews, as a source of the delays in distributing grants.

Those grants come through the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program, which offers residents up to $150,000 to fix or rebuild their storm-damaged properties.  There are currently more than 5,000 applicants who have been initially approved for the program and 7,000 additional homeowners remain on the program’s waiting list.

However, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said that federal red tape is not the problem.  In a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C., last week, Secretary Shaun Donovan said that reviews typically only take two weeks, with more complex cases stretching to six weeks.

Adding to frustrated homeowners, insurance companies have not stepped up to the plate like they should have.  Hurricane Katrina (in 2005) was a very expensive payout for the insurance industry as a whole.  Even after insurance companies raised their rates for those living close to the water, they still don’t want to pay out what they are legally obligated to – and many have engaged in bad faith insurance practices.

Inaction on the part of insurers and state and federal government has gravely affected the lives of those who suffered the most in Hurricane Sandy.  The article in featured several residents who are still living in trailers and RVs (recreational vehicles), well over a year after the storm hit.  One, in particular, was especially heartbreaking.

Family of 5 Living In a 29-Foot Summer Trailer

A 40-year-old mother of four lived in a bungalow-style house on Fourth Street in Union Beach, New Jersey for more than 20 years.  However, Hurricane Sandy completely destroyed her home.  She and her children lived in a hotel and at a friend’s home for a little over two months.

Since then, they have been living in 29-foot long trailer placed on the lot where their bungalow used to be.  However, the trailer was built for summer vacations – definitely not for long-term use and not for the winter.  According to the woman:

The hot water heater is broken. The pipes freeze.  The sleeping options include one full-sized bed, two couch recliners and a set of bunk beds, one of which doubles as storage with a toaster oven and dishes tucked on top.  Food is kept in a plastic container to protect it from mice.

When the woman decided to rent the trailer, she did so because she wanted her kids to be around their friends.  She honestly thought it would be temporary.  Unfortunately, she and hundreds of others find themselves in similar conditions – still waiting for those who should have acted by now to do so.

While homeowners can do little about feuds between state and federal government, they can make insurance companies pay for the legitimate damages they’ve suffered.  An experienced New York insurance dispute lawyer can help you to get the proceeds that you’re entitled to.