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First wave of federal aid for Sandy victims are in sight

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After a slice of margarita pizza, the Mayor along with representatives from HUD and the SBA served up something that many have been waiting to hear about for a long time, relief dollars.

Mayor Bloomberg said, “In the context of the way governments around the world work, this is setting a record for delivering services to people in need.”

Mayor Bloomberg announced this morning that approximately $1.8-Billion in Federal grants will fund eight recovery initiatives focused on housing, businesses, and infrastructure…  The drawback?  Sandy victims won’t have money in their hands until April or May?

“Well that is only a couple of months from now,” said Mayor Bloomberg when asked about the timetable.

Perhaps that works for a handful, but the reality is that the majority needed funding a month ago.

Most have been critical about how long it’s taken for monetary relief to arrive.  John Toto is out about $750,000-dollars.  He lost his home at 694 Seaver Avenue when Sandy made landfall.  It was moved off its foundation by one hundred yards. A retainer wall was the only obstruction that blocked it from moving further.

Toto also lost his business just a few yards in the other direction.  Toto’s restaurant is a Staten Island landmark that has had a presence on the island for over 60 years.  He showed PIX 11 News what is left in the historic haunt pointing out Babe Ruth as well as where Mayor Bloomberg once sat with constituents.  When asked if anyone Federally or locally has contacted him after filling out his paperwork in the days and weeks following Sandy, Toto quickly said, “No.”

Yet the 62-year-old remains optimistic that Wednesday’s announcement will ultimately mean that he and others will receive help, “It’s good news, it’s positive. I just hope the money trickles down to people who need it.”