Family finally gets Hurricane Irene buyout

Nina Pineda has 7 On Your Side.
Seven On Your Side
February 19, 2014 3:09:42 PM PST
There's another successful outcome for 7 On Your Side.

The problem dates back to Hurricane Irene and flooding in New Jersey.

"So this is the last time you were here, Friday, September 2nd," 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda said.

A 2-year-old newspaper with the tragic headline of Hurricane Irene's toll is still on top of the dining room table.

"We lost everything," said Yvette Mora, a Lincoln Park resident.

That flood drove Teresa and Yvette Mora from their Lincoln Park home, and the mother and daughter haven't been back since.

"I can't believe because I had just finished fixing my house, Yvette, we had just remodeled," said Theresa Mora, a Lincoln Park resident.

Yvette says her insurance company deemed the house uninhabitable. Ever since Irene, the mother and daughter have been renting nearby.

"This is all black mold now, yeah, it's all molded," Yvette Mora said.

But there is good news; just a month after Irene, the Mora's applied to FEMA, buying out homeowners in flood prone areas.

"It took a year to get that contract in writing," Yvette Mora said.

Their buy out was approved due to "severe repetitive" loss to their home.

But, more than two years after applying, the flood family says they're swimming in red tape and haven't seen a penny of the $205,000 offered.

"The state is requiring surveys for all the buyouts and they just keep doing them," Yvette Mora said.

"How many surveys did you have to get done for them?" Pineda asked.

"So far six and they're on their seventh," Yvette Mora said.

Yvette says the borough of Lincoln Park's latest hitch is a neighbor's illegal car port.

Just days after 7 On Your Side got involved last December, the structure disappeared and the survey was approved.

"It's draining, I mean we can't move on," Yvette Mora said.

There was another delay due to a simple soil test that was not done after an underground oil tank was dug up.

"They keep blaming it on the state," Yvette Mora said.

But 7 On Your Side found the state asked the Borough for that test last June. After 7 On Your Side pointed that out, the test got done days later.

"I got the check, we got the closing," Teresa Mora said.

After nearly three months of prodding from 7 On Your Side, the Mora's closed.

"You really fight for the people, almost two years back and forth circle and circle," Teresa Mora said.

Finally a huge buyout check for nearly $205,000.

"You and God put it to us, God and Channel 7 on the same page, that's right," Yvette Mora said.

The Mayor of Lincoln Park told 7 On Your Side that the Mora's were the first of nine Irene buybacks completed.

He said the borough made "every effort" to complete the buyback as quickly as possible.

Now with the Mora's money, it brings 7 On Your Side's yearly total of money we helped get back for viewers up to more than $419,000 just two months into the year!