We're just a week shy of the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and nearly a full year later, some are still not back in their homes. NBC 40 caught up with a local woman who lost everything but her patience, as this long and difficult process continues.
“It's just like, ugh, I can't stand it right now.” After living in a 33-foot long motor home for the past three months, Jackie Ernst is starting to feel a little stir crazy. “I know there's a lot more people worse off than me. I know at least, hey, I can live like this,” she said, “I’m a pioneer - I feel like I’m camping…it's getting cold now though.”
Living in the RV parked on the land where her house once stood, surrounded by abandoned homes, the experience of getting her life back in order following Hurricane Sandy, has been anything but a vacation. “Of course I’m worried,” said Ernst, “Sure I’m worried, I don't know what the next step is.”
Ernst did receive flood insurance money, but had to use it to pay off the mortgage on the house that no longer exists. “I’m just hoping an praying that I get enough money through the grants, and with the grants to build.” She says she's applied for a least half a dozen, and now has a grant specialist working with her to hopefully get the money needed to rebuild. “I don't feel now that I’m a forgotten victim,” said Ernst, “I feel like there's somebody pulling for me. But before I found out I was gonna get grants, that I was entitled to grants, I felt hopeless.”
But there's still a lot of uncertainty about how much she'll get or when, and if it'll be enough to rebuild on the property she's lived on for 23 years. “If I have to find a place, it's not gonna be like this,” she said, looking out over the water, “you know, this is valuable property, very valuable property. I wont benefit from it, but I’m certainly hoping my children or grandchildren will. I mean, that's what I was leaving them, that house on the water.”
A plan she's hoping will still work out, saying thankfully patience and a positive attitude were things she didn't lose in the storm.
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