Got my NY Rising/Sandy Help case manager…and a place, date, and time to meet plus a list of twelve additional documents still required despite the 11-page application I filled out two months ago with the 7 attachments.
It took me an entire day to fill out the initial forms and assemble the requested information. Now I must further prove who I am, and that everything I claim has occurred over the past year is true. I think that when this is all over I will be cleared for a high-level position in the CIA. But I probably won’t qualify for any money—and if I do, it won’t be any time soon. First I must wait to see what kind of mitigation loan the SBA offers me—and if I receive any ICC assistance. The SBA loan will be reduced by the ICC assistance and the NY Rising grant will be reduced by the SBA loan offer which is in turn reduced by the insurance “award”…It’s kind of like trying to change to your married name, or land your first restaurant job. You can’t prove something without having proof of having proved it somewhere else first—but that somewhere else won’t consider you proven unless some other somewhere has already produced proof of your personhood and/or worthiness (and even still, in the case of disaster money, when you do pass muster somewhere else or even within the same system just weeks prior, any agency would be remiss if they didn’t ask you to produce additional worthiness paperwork for every new meeting, request, or review).
And in this case, I may not be worthy because of my good credit. The fact that the SBA will likely offer me a decent-sized mitigation loan means that I cannot qualify for the money that does not have to paid back with interest at $500 a month. Do those terms sound reasonable for two people starting again, from nothing? Oh, yeah—and if I refuse to finance my future on a government loan, I forfeit any chance at actual assistance. The loan offer, even unfulfilled, counts as money I’ve been given, and automatically disqualifies me from receiving that amount in aid. Presumably, it will go to people who do not qualify to borrow. I can only hope that it does.
Sure I could use it, but I do not expect free money. And I don’t want to spend any more days of this already austere summer straining to meet standards if they are set up for me to fail. I wish the federal and state governments would stop dangling carrots so I wouldn’t be distracted while performing paying and productive work. If I didn’t have both rent and mortgage due at the beginning of yet another month, maybe I could stop planning my life around carrots.
I am extremely grateful to have the ability to take on extra work. At another time in my life my health might not allow it. Thank goodness I am young enough, and healthy enough, and lucky enough, to have options. People are out there who are waiting, as we are, on help that may never come—and they did not have jobs or savings on October 29, 2012, and their family and friends are unable to offer what ours have. Some of those affected or even displaced are mentally disabled, emotionally scarred, or just old and alone, unable to contend with paperwork that could send a tax consultant into convulsions. One of my temporary neighbors is 84 and widowed, her only daughter in North Carolina. The bottom floor of her house is rotting and she has not filled out any forms because she has no idea where to begin, and would feel uncomfortable having a neighbor sorting through her personal business. Next week, her daughter will fly up and try to get her started. Unfortunately, she will have only four days to sort through, decipher, produce, complete, organize, copy, notarize, and send hundreds of pages for Homeowners’, Flood, FEMA, SBA, and NYS Sandy Recovery.
And then, in a month and a half, they will ask her for more.
I know I sound like a broken record, but if you can give to the Long Beach Christmas Angel charity, please do. They are helping people like my neighbor. They come. They see your half-gone house. They listen. They give.
It should be that easy.