Two families victimized by Sandy became the last to move back into their Belmar, New Jersey homes Monday, three years to the week after the storm turned them into refugees.
"It's been crazy, it's been hard," said Teresa Keefe, a mother who had to commute at least an hour each way from her temporary home in Lakewood to Belmar in order to keep her kids in school there.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty led a fundraising campaign for the town's last two families to get back home, since flood insurance and FEMA funds were short of the cost to rebuild.
New Jersey's U.S. senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker were also there for the occasion. They reminded homeowners that while FEMA has formally closed its appeal process for Sandy claims, homeowners can still apply by contacting the senators' offices.
FEMA agreed to the appeals after news reports showed that insurance companies and their engineers were lowballing the original claims of the homeowners.
Belmar saw about 2,000 families displaced by the Oct. 29, 2012 storm, Doherty has said.