Six Months Later- Hurricane Sandy

Six months ago today Hurricane Sandy hit the East coast, but for many residents whose homes were badly damaged, recovery is moving at a VERY slow pace – or not at all.

Many of those displaced by the so-called superstorm say they are stuck in limbo, trying to raise money to pay for repairs or replace their homes while coming to grips with new, federal flood-zone maps that many fear will make it too costly for them to return.

Hard-hit Breezy Point, where more than 75 percent of the homes were either consumed by fire or suffered flood damage

Some 39,000 people in New Jersey remain displaced by the storm

Sandy wreaked havoc in the Caribbean before blasting ashore on Oct. 29 near Brigantine, N.J., leaving more than 100 people dead in the U.S. alone. Nearly 74,000 homes and apartments in New York and New Jersey, where it made landfall on Oct. 29, sustained damage, according to FEMA.

FEMA has given more than $1.3 billion to more than 180,000 Sandy victims in Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. The National Flood Insurance Program has paid more than $7.1 billion in claims.

Reconstruction work immediately ground to a halt in January, when FEMA released initial drafts of its new flood maps, which placed the community into the highest risk zone

If the maps are finalized as drawn, residents’ homes would have to be raised 11 feet and placed on pilings. Some state residents who don’t meet the requirements could face flood insurance premiums of up to $31,000 a year,

A group of New Jersey citizens facing the same difficult choices -- called Stop FEMA Now -- to advocate for changes to the flood maps.

Many of those displaced by the so-called superstorm say they are stuck in limbo, trying to raise money to pay for repairs or replace their homes while coming to grips with new, federal flood-zone maps that many fear will make it too costly for them to return.

Homeowners are tortured by uncertainty over ever-changing rules on how high they'll need to rebuild their homes to protect against the next storm; insurance companies have not paid out all that many homeowners expected; and municipalities are borrowing tens of millions of dollars to keep the lights on, the fire trucks running and the police stations staffed, waiting for reimbursement from the federal government for storm expenditures they had to fund out of pocket.