Many Still Struggle to Rebuild After Sandy - NBC Connecticut

Many Still Struggle to Rebuild After Sandy



    Many Still Struggle to Rebuild After Sandy

    Sixteen months after Hurricane Sandy many people along the shoreline are still struggling to rebuild.

    But one Milford man can't understand why the state has rejected him twice for aid to repair his home.

    Skip Ziebell's house is on Silver Street. He and his wife haven't lived here since that October 2012 storm He says he had to elevate it because the foundation was crumbling and he a rat problem underneath but now his problem is much bigger.

    "They're saying it was raised. It's not completely. It just started," Ziebell said, noting that this job was started a couple of months ago with money out of his pocket. He had hoped to get that money back but he now knows that answer.

    "I got a letter and it said Mr. Ziebell you're ineligible because you did this. I mean this is insane."

    That letter was from State's Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection denying him funds from FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This comes even after Governor Malloy ordered a committee to revise the allocation of those funds

    "The house is in jeopardy. I haven't been in it in 16 months because I did something after 14 months," Ziebell said.

    The state says it is working with him and the town to help him get access to any funds he might be eligible for. In January the state told NBC Connecticut the money denied to residents would be used for things like infrastructure

    "The state is dysfunctional and the programs aren't working as far as I'm concerned," he said.

    Ziebell has poured nearly $52,000 of his own into this house--one he was required to raise in the first place when it was more than 50% damaged by Sandy. He says the rest of project is likely $100,000 more--something he's likely going to have pay for himself.

    In the meantime he's been living in his rental property down the street. Contractors can't work on the Silver Street home because the ground is frozen. He's also worried about thieves stealing copper.

    "Hope that isn't the house moving," as there was a sound during the interview with NBC Connecticut. "This is like really scary."

    Skip would just like to return to his house.

    "It's a heart breaker. Every time my wife and I walk outside you get sick to your stomach looking at it and like I said how long can we wait to do something?"

    He says Milford police have helped him keep an eye on his house. He also has motion sensor lights on his house all night long.

    It's unclear how many other people along the shoreline were denied because of a situation like this. We reached out to Milford's mayor Monday night but he didn't get back to us.