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One Year After Sandy, Staten Island Resident Home at Last

by Stephanie Colombini
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Amy Chan in front of her Staten Island home renovated by Habitat for Humanity

Stephanie Colombini

A family displaced for almost a year gets their house back thanks to volunteer effort.

Today marks the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.  For many, last October's storm is on its way to becoming a distant memory.  But residents in hard hit areas on Staten Island won't soon forget.

"People don't know; they're right across the bridge, and they don't know that we're all still suffering." - Amy Chan, New Dorp Beach

From the street, Amy Chan's house looks pretty normal.  A large Habitat for Humanity banner is the only sign that this home was affected by the storm.  But inside, it's a different story.  Work continues to repair the damage from floodwaters that created a living nightmare for Chan, her husband, and teen-age son.  But, at least now, the house is livable. 

After the storm hit, Chan found herself displaced from the home that she had lived in most her life.  For over eleven months, she and her family hopped from hotel to hotel. having to eat out for almost every meal.  The mileage on their car sky-rocketed as they made countless trips from hotels in central Jersey - the closest available - back to Staten Island to check on the status of their home.  Chan says FEMA covered their hotel stay, but was only going to help them so much longer. 

Habitat for Humanity reached out to Chan over the summer, and began the difficult process of renovating her home.  She says if it weren't for Habitat expediting the repairs on her house, she doesn't where her family would be today.

"I really feel like God sent angels."

Chan and her family moved back into their home just two weeks ago.  But, they're still roughing it.  They still don't have a kitchen, but they do have a microwave and running water.  The house is expected to be completely finished in the next couple months.  Chan considers herself lucky.  She says many of her neighbors have not fared as well.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity NYC and how to get involved, visit their website

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