Governor Andrew Cuomo tackled some serious post-Hurricane Sandy issues this week in his 2013 State of the State address, including a very important proposed program that would give storm-affected homeowners the option to relocate instead of returning to their homes. The Recreate NY-Home Buyout Program would allow storm victims who simply don’t want to deal with rebuilding (especially in areas where future extreme weather damage is frequent and expected) to have their properties bought out using FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds. These households would be able to use the cash to relocate to less vulnerable areas and start new lives without the worry of facing further storm-related crises.
With the reality of climate change staring us in the face, the rebuilding of areas along NY’s coastline will need to be more than just restoration, and also include proactive prevention. The Recreate NY-Home Buyout Program would give homeowners a chance to avoid potential storms, flooding and sea level rise in the future by moving to safer areas. Capital New York asked residents of the affected Fox Beach in Staten Island how they would feel about a buyout, and found that 60 percent would relocate if given the option.
In order for the buyout to become a reality, the proposal would need to look to the Bloomberg administration to petition the state for funds. But even with the option, some residents have such strong ties to their neighborhoods that they would never want to leave. For those folks, Cuomo also outlined a Recreate NY-Smart Home program that would stress preventative measures and systems in the rebuilding process that would help new homes withstand future storms and flooding.