Joann Squeo leans up against the gray aluminum siding of the Keansburg home she grew up in, the home where she raised her kids, the home she was forced out of by superstorm Sandy and the home that she quite reasonably wondered if it was slipping out of her grasp forever.
“There’s a lot of memories here. … I wouldn’t know where to go,” she said in the backyard of her Forest Avenue home last month.
For the last 20 months, she was never more than a few miles from the house — living in area hotels at first, then back into the unfinished home and now a rental house in another section of Keansburg — but it might as well have been across the country. For the longest time, Squeo, 56, who lives with two adult children and her longtime partner, didn’t know where to turn for help. The Squeos spent every penny they had, and then racked up considerable credit card debt. They were victimized by the well-meaning and the malicious alike and rejected by the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program (RREM) on what the family says was a technicality.