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Homes affected by Sandy battle mold

February 21, 2013 8:21:33 PM PST
"How would you describe the day Superstorm Sandy moved through here?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Actually it changed everybody's life I believe," said Jorge Gonzalo, a Rockaways resident.

Nearly four months after the storm Jorge Gonzalo is still cleaning up.

In the Rockaways, water from the ocean flooded his home.

It's still standing, but deep in the bones of the house he's lived in with his family for 32 years, there is mold.

"There's white mold, grey mold and black mold," Gonzalo said.

He's tried to clean it up, he followed the city's recommendations on how to do it, but it's still there.

And he's concerned it's affecting his health and that of the seven other family members he lives with.

"Started noticing headaches and coughing and then when it got worse I started getting a fever," Gonzalo said.

In homes across the city residents continue to battle mold.

By some estimates there are tens of thousands of homes just like this one.

Dahlia Goldenburg works for an organization sounding the alarm about the potential danger.

"We don't want to see homeowners trying to tackle the problem on their own and then getting ill and the problem coming back in the spring when it starts getting warm again," said Dahlia Goldenberg, of the Queens Congregations United in Action.

The city is sponsoring a $15 million remediation program.

It is money raised through a public-private partnership, but critics of the city's efforts say it is a drop in the bucket.

"Unfortunately that's not enough, but this is not an easy problem to take care of," Goldenburg said.

Thursday, a crew of professionals volunteered to help Jorge Gonzalo and his family clean up the mold once and for all.

"I'm just happy we can help out," a volunteer said.

It's been a long road back for this family and it's been a struggle each and every day.

"I feel sometimes that it's too much for a person to handle. But keep going. Keep praying and things will work out. I'm pretty sure of that," Gonzalo said.

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