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Life After Sandy Proving Difficult For Queens Seniors Stuck In Temporary Housing

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The weeks and months after Superstorm Sandy have been a burden for many, including about 500 seniors evacuated from care facilities.

They're still in temporary housing. Some are still sleeping on cots with their belongings stored in trash bags.

The situation is really starting to take a toll, CBS 2's Tony Aiello reported Friday.

The rooms at Belle Harbor Manor Assisted Living Center are empty of residents due to damage from the hurricane.

Advocates said the residents are damaged, too.

"People are very stressed, they're very frustrated," said Shelly Weizman, of MFY Legal Services.

"They've been through a terrible, terrible ordeal," added Geoff Lieberman, of the Coalition of Institutionalized Aged and Disabled.

Lieberman and Weizman visit seniors displaced by Sandy on a regular basis.

About 500 of the seniors who were evacuated are still in temporary housing. Belle Harbor residents spent weeks sleeping on cots at the Park Slope Armory and now are housed on the grounds of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens.

Photographer Doug Kuntz sneaked a camera in to talk with one of them -- 93-year-old Miriam Eisenstein.

"I don't want to be in a conflict situation with this institution. I'm just questioning by way of analyzing why we find ourselves here," Eisenstein said.

Critics said planning in advance of the crisis was very poor, so the temporary facilities have been very difficult to endure.

"Restrictive, it's lack of security, lack of privacy and a very difficult situation for these folks, and they don't know when it's going to end either," Weizman said.

"It has taken a toll, they're exhausted, afraid, haven't had a clear picture of what their life will be in the short or long term," Lieberman added.

Fixing flooded facilities such as Belle Harbor Manor has been a huge challenge.

Advocates said equally challenging will be fixing the system so the next time there's a crisis and an evacuation, there won't be so much misery and confusion.

A state office that safeguards nursing home patients sent inspectors to check complaints about conditions in senior temporary housing.

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