Almost four years after Superstorm Sandy, some homes in Long Beach are still not finished.
Power outages and flooding following the storm forced everyone in the city out of their homes - some for days, others for weeks, months and even years.
Today, officials say 900 families in the city have yet to return. This is the first time Vanessa Ingrao is sharing her story - with photos are from her wedding three days before the storm.
“We packed our suitcases and we went off. We had no idea we'd get back and that's all we'd have - two suitcases of summer clothes left,” said Ingrao.
She's renting a home in Mineola. Her struggle with insurance companies, FEMA, and corrupt contractors is all too familiar with so many others along the south shore.
Matt Dwyer had been back for two weeks. He was forced to demolish and raze his home and he's still waiting for funds.
“Because of the age of our house and the damage, they weren't going to be able to lift. But we didn't know that for two years,” said Dwyer.
FEMA received a total of 5,575 claims in Long Beach. They paid out over $384 million. Residents, including Matt, who felt they were underpaid, were able to have their claims reviewed. About 60 people are still in limbo. FEMA says residents will be contacted by an adjuster by year's end.
Some people have sold, others are still not rebuilt.
As for the businesses, they are slowly coming back. Vanessa took a gamble. She opened her walk up window waffle shop that she had always wanted. She hopes it will help cover the gap in funds.
Opening the shop was something to distract her. She hopes that by this time next year she and many other families will finally be home. “There's a light at the end of the tunnel but were holding on as tight as we can to make it there.”