REMSENBURG, New York (WABC) -- Since Sandy, Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side continuously delivered for weary, waterlogged victims - recovering more than $1. 2 million for homeowners and local businesses. But in addition to giving help, Nina's learned some lessons every homeowner should know before another disaster strikes.
"I'm too emotional now. I want to come back home," Fernando Scrocco said after Sandy destroyed his family's home.
Just after Superstorm Sandy, we made a promise to the Scroccos on their Suffolk County lawn to get them home.
Their home had been raised but 2 years after the storm work had stopped
The house today is completely renovated after we helped the family out of a frustrating Catch 22.
"You saved us literally saved us...saving grace," Fernando said.
It was a common conundrum after Sandy. Homeowners were unable to complete renovations because their mortgage lenders wanted work to be almost complete before releasing payouts.
Most could not complete the work until they got their insurance money. The banks were fearful owners would take the money and run.
But not this family, they worked their way from the ground up, literally. Transforming rotten moldy plywood into perfection.
The Scrocco's Daughter Gloria and her twin Alesso credit their parent's perseverance. They were 21 when the storm forced them out of their home.
Grit is the word to describe their experience, pushing and pushing and pushing even if they failed to find another way.
Because in that moment we were like lost, totally lost and we didn't know what to do, Fernando said.
What they learned in a decade:
Prepare for paperwork. NY Rising and FEMA funds both helped but require a lot of work.
So does researching reliable contractors. Hire a licensed contractor for all work and never pay up front.
Secure all your important paperwork too.
"Personal documents. It's so important to keep them on high ground in a safe place," Fernando said.
Finally, advocate for yourself. Once the family called us, the $30,000 was released in 4 checks.
After moving 7 times since Sandy, they finally came home in 2015 putting the storm behind them never forgetting our help.
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