April 1, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Several Sandy survivors, participated in an important City Council hearing on Monday March 31st to discuss the recovery and re-building process. Many that testified made recommendations including the need to re-open registration, increase outreach to the vulnerable populations, offer temporary assistance during the repair and rebuilding process and create an appeals process for those denied funding assistance.
“As a mother and homeowner who lost everything in Hurricane Sandy, I was hopeful when the city announced the Build it Back program 9 months ago. But I am still living in damaged, substandard conditions, and I have submitted the same paperwork 4 times to the city, with no help in sight,” said Jean Ferrara-Rodriguez, resident of Howard Beach.
Many homeowners have been living in their unrepaired or semi-repaired homes since Sandy. Others have been displaced from their uninhabitable or destroyed homes and are paying rent on an apartment in addition to their mortgage payments. These costs are placing them into financially precarious situations. Build it Back requires residents to vacate a home for construction to begin. There is no financial assistance while construction is underway. Those that testified made it clear the City and federal. government should help homeowners pay for alternative temporary housing while construction on their homes is being completed.