Flood Assistance Survey Available for Greenwich Residents

There are many families in Greenwich who still cannot live in their homes because of Superstorm Sandy damage.

An Old Greenwich home that remains on pilings in the months since Super Storm Sandy. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.
An Old Greenwich home that remains on pilings in the months since Super Storm Sandy. Photo credit: Barbara Heins.

It's 16 months since Superstorm Sandy ravaged the region leaving hundreds of homes in Greenwich with some form of damage.

And town officials are trying to get more solid information on the number of families who still are displaced because of the damage to their homes or the need to elevate their homes "because water was slapping against their doorways," said Greenwich Conservation Director Denise Savageau. To identify long-term needs of residents and to try match them state and federal grant programs that could provide some financial relief to get people back into their homes, the Conservation Commission is conducting an online survey.

The survey is designed to identify the long-term recovery needs of residents, Savageau said. "We need to get a better handle on the numbers so we can forward them to the state."

Savageau said there are up to 10 families she has been working with who are still making repairs to their homes or are working to elevate their structures. "We have families who don't have heating systems not functioning fully and are supplementing winter heat with fireplaces, or there may be a family living without a kitchen because they need to elevate it," Savageau said. She said she's worked with 28 families looking to elevate their homes that are located in flood zones. About 90 percent of those homes were damaged during the Oct. 29, 2012 storm that came ashore with an unrelenting fury of 70 to 80 mph winds and waves towering 20 feet.

During the height of that storm, three homes on Binney Lane in Old Greenwich were destroyed in a wind-fueled fire that spread through the neighborhood.

"The survey will give us a better handle on the numbers," she added. "We need to know where we are, what's going on and how can we help."

Savageau is appealing to families who had the financial means to make repairs without government assistance to complete the survey. "We do have people who are not in their homes but can afford to rebuild but they may need some kind of help — to be displaced takes its toll on you," Savageau said. "There are others who have refinanced or raided their children's college funds. There is stress involved and there is assistance whether it's financial, social services or technological help in rebuilding."

“The more information the town has on what residents need, the better we can communicate that to state and federal officials," Savageau said.

“Taking the survey will also put residents on a list to receive future updates for flood assistance since new programs continue to be rolled out as part of long-term recovery process," she added.

The town also is working with the Connecticut Rises program, an umbrella program for all of the non-governmental organizations that work on disasters such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. Residents who were impacted by Sandy should also register with Connecticut Rises by dialing 211, Savageau said.   

"We do a great job with emergency response and with emergency follow-up ... but obviously, there's a long-term need," she added.

Savageau said Thursday afternoon that some residents already have responded and she's hoping that anyone who still is making repairs or are planning repairs or rebuilds to complete the survey, which can be found on the Town of Greenwich website: www.greenwichct.org/sandy.


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