Post Hurricane Sandy Report, A first hand report

Written By: Glenn Michaels, Op-Ed Writer

As we approach the one year anniversary of the Super Storm Sandy or commonly known as Hurricane Sandy there are still many homes and businesses still unoccupied, fixing up, being raised, being razed, and modular homes being installed where stick built homes were in place for many years.

In addition the local hospitals have established various organizations or focus groups to help individuals cope with the situation. Now that the media no longer has much to report since the storm wrecked much of the south shore of Long Island, south Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York and the shore parts of New Jersey. Even the local politicians are not present as they are too busy getting re –elected or elected to a political post of some kind. In my opinion the local politicians were too busy getting their pictures taken and short on information for their constituents how to obtain funding to fix up their home or small business.

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I volunteered to speak at several focus groups to advise fellow Super Storm victims where or how to obtain money to fix up their home or small business. In my talks I learned quickly how uninformed most people and politicians were of the options available to obtain funds to fix up. People will be able to cope with the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy if they knew that they were going to receive funds to fix up.

The President of the United States declared these areas a “Presidential Federal Disaster Area” which allows everyone in these areas certain additional opportunities to obtain funds to fix up their home or small business.

The first thing available to everyone is to apply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to assist in fixing up the home. I did and I received $6,100.00 in a non – repayable FEMA grant. These grants are predicated on how much damage incurred how much homeowner’s insurance and/or flood insurance paid. In my case I did not reside in a flood zone so I did not have flood insurance.

Residents and businesses situated in a Presidentially declared federal disaster area were not able to amend their prior year tax return by adding “theft and casualty” losses to obtain funds from the Internal Revenue Service. In addition the same could be filed for the current tax year.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided numerous programs to assist everyone to obtain funds to fix up. The familiar programs and not so familiar programs became available for those that apply for them. Borrowers were eligible for the FHA 203(k) program and HUD Title I loan financing and the not so familiar 203(h) program.

In addition HUD provided millions of dollars given to each state to assist the homeowners and business owners to obtain additional funds to fix up. In New York State it is called “New York Rising” and if a homeowner or small business owner applies the State of New York will provide additional grants (non – repayable) based income or lack of income, the amount of property damage, the amount of reimbursement from insurance and from FEMA. I have applied for this grant and I am in the process of waiting for my award.

In addition to these programs, many credit unions have set up low cost loans to assist borrowers fix up and so has the Small Business Administration (SBA) assisted residents and businesses to obtain funds to fix up.

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With some research I have found about ten (10) different ways homeowners and businesses and obtain funds to assist in obtaining the funds to fix up.

As I travel around these areas I still see many dumpsters and storage facilities not to mention heavy equipment fixing up homes and businesses. Even though the media circus is over, people are still suffering.

I was lucky that my nephew was in the construction and restoration business and I was able to fix up within thirty (30) to forty – five (45) days. Damage that I incurred was the loss of my entire boiler room and its contents, my family room and its contents and my home office. My loss was more than $40,000.00 and using my own funds, insurance proceeds, FEMA grants, and a credit union loan the work was completed quickly. Unfortunately so many people are still trying to obtain funds to fix up their homes and businesses.

About The Author

Glenn Michaels - As an NAMP® Opinion Editorial Contributor, Glenn Michaels is a mortgage underwriting instructor for CampusUnderwriter ( As a BBA & FHA DE Underwriter, Glenn is a Pace University graduate who also graduated from New York University’s School of Mortgage Finance. Glenn has conducted numerous training classes and has worked in the mortgage banking industry for 38 years. 


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