USA Today

They're falling between the cracks.

"Call them the forgotten victims of Sandy," writes the Newark Star-Ledger. "Middle-class homeowners who inherited houses on the Jersey Shore or bought a second home as an investment – all of whom have been shut out of most types of financial aid" ("Left out of federal Sandy relief, owners of second homes hope for help," by Eugene Palk).

People whose primary residence was damaged or destroyed in the storm are eligible for a wide variety of government-funded compensation. But those whose damaged building was a second property aren't included. "They're not eligible for $1.8 billion in HUD funds that will be distributed throughout New Jersey to help homeowners and businesses fix and elevate their buildings," reports the Star-Ledger. They're not eligible for FEMA grants to elevate their homes, and they can't even get low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration."

For some owners, Sandy interrupted a long-planned transition from the house they owned during their working lives, and the house they planned to move into after retiring. USA Today cites the example of Charles and Tony Silvani, who saved and worked for years to purchase and improve a modest home on the Jersey Shore. Sandy damaged it badly — and the Silvanis are up a creek ("Prepare now or face flooding, report warns Jersey Shore," by Kirk Moore/Asbury Park Press).

Instead of moving in this summer as planned, "they and other owners of second homes here have come up against the same hurdles: federal flood insurance maps that would force them to raise their homes or face exorbitant premiums, construction estimates that exceed Sandy insurance payouts, and limited federal aid for elevating houses — in the Silvanis' case, half of the $60,000 one contractor quoted."