Christie announces new fund for Sandy victims

Toni Yates reports from Little Ferry, New Jersey
October 22, 2013 2:33:24 PM PDT
Almost one year ago, Superstorm Sandy ravaged our area.

Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced $57 million is now available for families who are still homeless.

"A lot of people pay rent, mortgage, while they're waiting for repairs. This puts enormous strain on you, you can access this program," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said.

The governor announced the new money outside the new Meadowlands Family Success Center, where staff can inform you about the program which is actually run out of the Department of Human Services.

Little Ferry and Moonachie are areas where post-Sandy headaches are still migraines for many homeowners.

"Extremely stressful, makes you not want to fix anything, just get up and leave," said Phillip Castillo, a Little Ferry resident.

Castillo is still in the middle of repairs, wrapped he says, in choking red tape.

"Biggest obstacle, you pay for stuff yourself, insurance company, Mortgage Company not releasing money, that's what I'm dealing with," Castillo said.

Turn a corner, and Barbara Brunck has had no kitchen for a year, with the same slow steps to recovery.

"Stressful. I'm a single mom, trying to work, get repairs done, it's taking a toll on me," Brunck said.

All the federal and state Sandy relief programs, she says, have been a nightmare.

The forms seem never-ending.

"I filled it out at first, and they changed it said I did it wrong, did another, my son lives here did not sign the other it was changed. I said, 'Well I didn't change it!'" Brunck said.

And neither homeowner jumped for joy at hearing about the new voucher that the governor says can help in many areas.

"Not just rent, utilities, appliances, furniture, all those cost are covered by this program," Governor Christie said.

Folks like Brunck say it's the lack of ease in getting the money that's the problem. Fix that they say, and they can begin to look up.

"Do I cut my losses? I don't know, it's too much," Brunck said.