Many Staten Island residents accept homeowner buyout program after Sandy

April 28, 2013 8:32:20 PM PDT
The Oakwood section of Staten Island will be the pilot site for Governor Andrew Cuomo's buyout program.

The state will give homeowners 100 percent of their property's pre-Sandy value plus an additional five percent if they stay on Staten Island. While there have been reports that homeowners across the Tri-State would rather rebuild than take the buyout, that is not the case in Oakwood Beach.

For many residents, rebuilding is just too difficult, especially on many streets that look like a ghost town. Most of the windows to houses are boarded up, and many home structures have been knocked off their foundation.

Eyewitness News spoke with homeowner Madeline Fradella, who said the memories of Superstorm Sandy are just too painful, and it is time to go.

"I'm afraid to be here," says Fradella, "my neighbor drowned in his basement. A lot of lives were lost here. When these storms come, they get worse and worse."

Six months later, Staten Island is still struggling to recover.

In the meantime, Fradella and thousands of others have been getting help from a man named Derek Tabacco, the founder of Guyon Rescue.

"We're not going to stop until everybody is restored to their original quality of life," says Tabacco.

Guyon Rescue has been doing everything from collecting donations to handing out necessities.

"Over the last six months, the needs have changed from cleaning supplies to coffee and blankets to helping with volunteers to muck out homes and now rebuilding homes," adds Tabacco.

Tabacco had a special surprise for Madeline Fradella. He made renovations to her kitchen and bathroom. Maybe now she will change her mind about leaving her home.

The majority of homeowners living in Oakwood Beach want to take the buyout, but the same is not tryue for people living along coastal areas across the Tri-State.