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NJ Residents Concerned About Rising Cost Of Flood Insurance

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By Oren Liebermann

VENTNOR, N.J. (CBS) - Fran Barnes has been homeless for a month.

“This was the dining area,” said Barnes, pointing at a section of torn up walls and ripped out floors.

Barnes is staying with friends until she can move back in to her Ventnor home. After 25 years, most of what she owns is outside in the dumpster.

“I had to rip everything out and then of course the insulation was soaked. You had to take everything apart.”

A month after Hurricane Sandy ravaged coastal cities, piles of trash still fill the streets. Barnes has not seen a penny from her flood insurance yet, paying for her cleanup out of pocket.

“We already pay high taxes in Ventnor,” Barnes says. “Now I’m going to get a boost in taxes I’m sure. And then I’ll get a boost in flood insurance. It becomes not worth it to live here.”

In flood prone towns like Ventnor, flood insurance will jump 20 percent next year because the National Flood Insurance Program is in so much debt. That could add up to thousands of dollars per home.

“I like the area,” says Howard Plasket of Somers Point. “I like the area I live in. I have lots of family and lots of friends, but if the insurance company wants to force me out, so be it.”

“We have to go a step further and really understand the impact of a storm like this and is the coverage really available that meets that need?” said Assemblyman Lou Greenwald in Ocean County.

In hard hit Seaside Heights, state lawmakers toured the damage and saw how the iconic boardwalk now looks.

Streets here are still choked with sand and debris, slowing down the cleanup. As each day passes, homeowners wonder when they will get help and how much it will cost.

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