Some Queens families still displaced after December sewage flooding

Nearly seven months ago, a massive sewage spill displaced hundreds of residents in South Ozone Park, Queens. Piles of garbage still litter the driveways. Belongings, wrapped in plastic, are stacked almost as high as the ceilings. 

The mayor's office said that 10 families, including Teri Cleveland, her sister, nieces and nephew, are still living in hotels.

"There's still mold, the smell, so we have no place to go," Cleveland said.

She said that she received a notice from the city last week, reading in part: "Hotel accommodations for those impacted by the South Ozone Park sewage backup will end on June 30, 2020, at the hotel's designated check out time."

The city told FOX 5 NY that $7,000 in relocation assistance program funds will be provided to each household upon checkout and that families can use the money to rebook hotel rooms if necessary.

However, Deshawn Hodgers, who is also living in a hotel, said families need more time and more money to make ends meet. 

"We want the money that they said they were going to give us to fix up the house," Hodgers said. "And we want extensions until that happens." 

Some frustrated homeowners told FOX 5 NY that the city comptroller's office still hasn't responded to their property damage claims. They argue that the coronavirus should have only been a small hiccup in that process.

A spokeswoman for the comptroller's office said she could not discuss pending claims but said in a statement: "Our team has been working since day one with all impacted residents so they can quickly receive all amounts they are entitled to under the law."

Many residents in the neighborhood say they're even considering filing a class action lawsuit due to physical losses and emotional trauma.


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