BY KATHY KAHN
BaMar in Stony Point, a manufactured home community on the town’s coastline battered by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, is still the site of 78 remaining homesteads. A packed audience filled Stony Point Center on Thursday, January 26, to learn what options would be available to them through the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.
It is not the first program offered, but it may be the last one, as the limit on what can be offered and spent is capped by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Under the new proposal, those with a family of four or more would receive up to $125,000; three people, up to $115,000; for one or two people, up to $105,000.
Homeowners who rent out their property are entitled to file an application for help. The funds can be used to either buy a new home in another manufactured community; receive homeownership assistance for a single family house or condo (with the down payment and closing costs coming from the amount the homeowner or renter is deemed eligible to receive). The last option is to receive 42 months of rent, made in two payments, again based on household composition and eligibility.
Those who take advantage of one of the three options would have their BaMar home demolished with installation costs for only a new home located outside the flood plain zone at no charge to them. Moving costs are to be borne by the Federal Highway Administration, with a standard relocation rate of $1,000-$2,000.
Nancy McErleane, who had already moved to a new manufactured home in Stony Point under a previous GOSR offer, warned residents at the meeting the cost for both a deck and shed cost her $5,000 out of pocket. “You need a deck to get into the house.”
Residents who want to remain in the area, particularly those with children in the North Rockland School District, expressed concern about finding a new manufactured home in the same area or would not be eligible for homeownership due to poor credit. Others said the offer for rent would not likely cover the average rental fees. Although residents and renters have an option to move anywhere within a 100-mile radius of BaMar, nobody seemed eager to move too far—or for that matter.
The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery had caseworkers at the meeting to help residents get the process started. Residents also asked that a caseworker be on hand in Stony Point, and GOSR representatives said they would work with Supervisor Jim Monaghan to have someone either at the site or at one close by 2-3 times a week to be accessible to residents.
Supervisor Jim Monaghan told the audience the property is zoned for manufactured homes and will remain so. For those who want to stay put, that is their option. People who applied under the former GOSR offer must re-apply for the new one. The Rockland Action Coalition is working with GOSR to help BaMar homeowners and renters decide the next step. RAC can be reached at 708-5799 Ext. 202. To download an application and get the process started, go to www.stormrecovery.ny.gov/MHCRapply. BaMar residents can also call 844-212-9711 for help with their applications.
BaMar spokesperson Millie Garcia hopes things will work out for people still living there, as manufactured home communities are few and many residents will have difficulty finding decent housing, whether in North Rockland or elsewhere. For former resident Andy Lopez, whose home was ripped apart during the storm, there are no options. “We lost everything, and there is no help out there for us.”