NYC residents who were affected by Hurricane Sandy are getting an extra helping hand as the city plans to reallocate $100 million in funding towards rebuilding homes destroyed in the storm. Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new rebuilding leadership team that will help get homeowners the funds they need faster by cutting through the administrative red tape. At a news conference in Rockaway Park, Queens, the mayor, alongside Senator Chuck Schumer, appointed three new city officials to a senior leadership team that will oversee and execute the city’s Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding efforts.
The Mayor appointed Bill Goldstein as the Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure; Amy Peterson as the Director of the Housing Recovery Office; and Daniel Zarrilli to be the Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
Along with the new administrative body, the mayor announced some new structural changes that will streamline the Build it Back process. The biggest item is the $100 million in funding set aside for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Community Development Block Grant Programs to ensure every home destroyed by Superstorm Sandy is rebuilt, regardless of an applicant’s income or current program prioritization. Meanwhile, to help meet the demand, the city is boosting the Housing Recovery Office staff by 35 percent.
The city is also moving to expedite the entire process by holding design consultation sessions immediately after homeowners are given an offer. Homeowners who have already received funds will be able to set aside a portion to pay for temporary relocation housing if they are displaced during construction.
The plan also calls for eliminating the permit and procedural bottlenecks holding up repairs and rebuilding efforts. As an extension of the previous measure, any Department of Buildings permits preventing post-Sandy work will be cleared. The city plans to publish an updated strategy with diagnostic and additional specific recommendations to improve Sandy recovery on April 11th.
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