While Hanley struggles with the bureaucracy of post-disaster life, many others are receiving help from the Red Cross, which has opened 190 shelters along the Eastern Seaboard. The organization has hundreds of disaster workers on standby with emergency supplies.
'It's a humbling experience'
Katie Fairley, a Staten Islander who lives in New Dorp, one of the harder-hit areas, said she's seen people sleeping in their cars.
A 51-year-old vice president for finance at a health care facility, Fairley said lines for food and for gas are blocks long.
"Thank God, we have each other here," she said, insisting that Staten Islanders have been forgotten.
Another Staten Islander, Tara Saylor, spent her weekend volunteering to hand out clothing and food. The 25-year-old works at a Manhattan interior design showroom. She and her home on a hill in St. George escaped Sandy's wrath.
Helping people touched her deeply.
"I was almost crying when people are thanking me," she said. "(They were) throwing their family photos out in the middle of the street. It's a humbling experience. You really begin to appreciate what you have."
In the Long Island community of Floral Park, Kevin Cordova's family members tried cooking hot food to stay warm and wore their coats indoors. His house is uninhabitable, thanks to Sandy.
"There's really no amount of blankets that can stop you from being cold in 30-degree weather," the 28-year-old said. "We feel a little homeless right now. We have our house, but we can't really use it."
Teacher: 'I want them to tell their stories'
To the southwest in Red Bank, New Jersey, about a 90-minute drive from Floral Park, Chris Ippolito has been luckier than many folks. So far, he's only had to wrestle with sporadic power outages. But his mother-in-law's home was severely flooded.
Her historic house, more than 100 years old, sat a block from the ocean in Monmouth County.
Her family built it, and she spent her childhood there.
She left the house before Sandy hit, so she's physically all right. But she's devastated by the loss.
"It's incredibly difficult for her," Ippolito said.
Things are returning to some semblance of normalcy, he said.
CNN reached Ippolito shortly after he had delivered food and supplies to a local firehouse.
"Businesses are breathing back to life," he said. "Schools are limping back to life."
Ippolito is a high school teacher. His district is closed for now, but he's thinking about all his students.
"I want them to tell their stories, to feel like they can open up if they want or need to," he said.
He'll use his free time Tuesday to cast his vote for president.
"I understand that voting isn't the priority for a lot of people who are dealing with more immediate needs," he said. "But I'm not going to miss it."