Mark and Claudia

We work with disaster victims so they can put their lives back together. NYLAG helped the Gutierrezes, after claims on their Sandy-damaged home were denied by FEMA and insurance companies.

Gutierrez Family

Mark and Claudia Gutierrez sustained severe damage to their Brooklyn home during Superstorm Sandy. Their finished basement flooded to the ceiling, destroying all furniture and valuables, including their computer, television, washer/dryer, refrigerator, freezer, boiler and hot water heater. High winds also seriously damaged their roof, which cracked and leaked, leading them to fear that the ceiling in their young son’s bedroom would collapse.

Shortly after the storm, the Gutierrezes had applied for a FEMA grant, but their initial request was denied because they had both homeowners and flood insurance. Unfortunately, the two insurance providers initially offered only $35,000 in combined payments, which was woefully inadequate to cover the required repairs.

The Gutierrezes sought assistance at their local community center where they met with an onsite NYLAG attorney. The attorney began by advocating with the family’s homeowners insurance provider, writing letters that appealed the initial claim decisions, and securing a new inspection of the property. After a second inspection, the Gutierrezes received an additional $4,550 to help make repairs to their roof. At the same time, NYLAG drafted a detailed appeal letter to FEMA’s Flood Insurance department to secure funds for repairs to the basement. This advocacy resulted in additional funds of $20,236 from the flood insurer. The assistance secured so far has allowed the Gutierrez family to move forward with repairing their home and rebuilding their lives.

Find out more about NYLAG’s Storm Response Unit.