Category: US Society / November 29, 2012 4:55 PM EST
One month after Superstorm Sandy leveled parts of Staten Island, a massive clean-up effort continues as residents clear out homes damaged or destroyed by the storm.
Sandy slammed ashore on October 29, bringing a record storm surge and killing more than 120 people, 22 of those casualties from Staten Island.
On New York City's Staten Island, hundreds of homes remain damaged. Inspectors have tagged homes that are no longer inhabitable. And dozens of vehicles are still abandoned on gutted streets.
Brett Gordon continued to clear out his Staten Island bungalow on Thursday (November 29). Gordon, his wife and two daughters lived in the home for about five years. Gordon has vowed to rebuild, but says he needs help.
Gordon, a Manhattan doorman, said he feels abandoned by the local, state and national governments.
"I believe God is good, but I can tell you one thing, the government isn't good. That I can tell you, because if the government was good they'd be here assisting us. If they could give countries billions of dollars on the drop of a hat, why can't they help the blue-collar Americans. I'm almost 40 years old, I've paid taxes since I was 14 on the books. Why can't they treat me with dignity?"
As he cleared out the home, Gordan said he has already talked to an architect to rebuild the home higher off the ground.
"The water went all the way to the top. That's the water level right here," he pointed out to Reuters as he issued a plea to politicians and business leaders.
"Come and assess some of these houses to see the trauma and the stigma that's left with it for the children. Forget about me. I'm 40 years old. I'm a grown man, blue-collar guy, but what about my wife whose emotionally a mess? What about my children who are a mess. It's not right. It's not right the way they are treating us and I never asked for a handout. I don't want a handout. I just want them to do the right thing for the community. We're not a third world country. We are supposed to be one of the superpowers of the world, but I could tell you right now Britain wouldn't let this happen."
In addition to the costs of rebuilding the home, the Gordon family is now renting an apartment to live until the home is fixed.
Tens of thousands of people are homeless or displaced by the storm and tons of debris are being cleared from the streets.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo estimated the storm caused $50 billion (USD) in damage and economic losses, more than $30 billion of that in New York State alone.