Displaced LI residents angered over lack of progress

March 29, 2010 2:57:19 PM PDT
There is frustration and anger on Long Island, where some tenants have been homeless for weeks since the severe storms that tore through the tri-state earlier this month. Their damaged building in Lynbrook was evacuated, and they're upset they still can't move back.

With yet another storm dumping buckets of rain on the South Shore, people in one Lynbrook apartment building are still reliving the last one.

That monster storm, which had hurricane-force gusts that toppled trees, destroyed the building's roof, which slid onto the street below.

Since then, 18 apartments have been condemned, with no power, no floors and no progress. Tenants like Rich blame the landlord.

"It was like Bozo the Clown was running the show, and he can't multitask," he said. "This is insane. This should have been done a long time ago."

Two and a half weeks after the storm that did all the damage, the apartments are still uninhabitable. Walls and ceilings are missing, and for the people who continue to pay rent, they have no idea when they'll be able to come home.

"It is an unfortunate situation that is beyond the realm of anybody," landlord Joe Brecher said. "It's an act of God. We are not God."

Brecher says it isn't his fault the repairs have taken so long. He says the run on roofing materials and labor since the March 13tstorm made it almost impossible to get anything done.

"You cannot put a roof on the house if you don't have roofing materials," he said. "You cannot have power restored if it's not safe."

But on Monday there was some progress. Building inspectors certified the newly-repaired roof and workers finished drying out the inside of the building.

"So far, it looks like we're going have a few people coming back into the building," Lynbrook fire inspector Lynn Curtis said.

Rich may be one of them. But once his lease is up, he says he has no plans to stick around.

"I mean this is insane," he said.