HAMILTON BEACH, QUEENS (PIX11) — Michael Riley has scary memories of Hurricane Sandy. He remembers clinging to his refrigerator when waters swept into his home and took everything away.
“I almost died in there,” he said.
Like so many people left homeless by Sandy, the Queens resident has filed for help with FEMA and was told he had to wait.
While he waits, he is sleeping on the floor inside a Hamilton Beach deli that’s under construction – and that’s only because the owner has a heart and doesn’t want him out on the streets.
He sleeps on an uncomfortable cot.
“My back is killing me. It’s better than being outside,” Riley said.
He’s been sleeping inside the grocery store since Sandy hit. And the store is just a few feet away from FEMA headquarters.
“Their headquarters are right across the street, which is ironic. They told me they can’t help me, they have no hotel rooms.”
FEMA tells PIX11 the agency is looking into Riley’s case directly now. PIX11 also called state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., whose office is actively involved in the case.
Riley says he’s not angry, just frustrated that a system that is supposed to help people like him has failed hum.
“They are right over there and they are not doing nothing!”