Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL INFORMATION
Questions on applications, co-applicants, scheduling, and the Build it Back Centers.
Open questions
HOMEOWNER
Questions on eligibility, income, benefits, and restrictions on assistance.
Open questions
DAMAGE ASSESSMENT
Questions on what occurs at the damage assessment, the Damage Assessment Team, the damage assessment report, and lead and asbestos.
Open questions
OPTIONS REVIEW MEETING
Questions on what is covered at the Options Review Meeting, who needs to attend, and next steps.
Open questions
COUNSELING FOR HOMEOWNERS
Questions on what issues are covered, how to be referred to Counseling, and foreclosures and mortgages.
Open questions
FLOOD INSURANCE
Questions on Special Flood Hazard Areas and flood insurance policies.
Open questions
ONGOING CONSTRUCTION
Questions on how ongoing construction can affect your application.
Open questions
DESIGN CONSULTATION
Questions on who attends and what happens at the Design Consultation, as well as the construction agreement.
Open questions
REPAIR PROGRAM
Questions on what specific repairs are and are not included in the Repair Program, as well as repairs for code compliance, resilience, and utilities.
Open questions
REPAIR PROGRAM: CHOOSE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR
Questions on choosing your own contractor, registering the contractor, and how to find your own contractor.
Open questions
REPAIR WITH ELEVATION PROGRAM
Questions on why your home might need to be elevated, how high it will be elevated, and the process for elevating your home.
Open questions
REPAIR WITH ELEVATION PROGRAM: CHOOSE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR
Questions on choosing your own licensed and approved elevation subcontractor and on approval for elevation plans from the NYC Department of Buildings.
Open questions
REPAIR WITH ELEVATION PROGRAM: CONSTRUCTION
Questions on the start date for your construction, relocating during construction, and the construction process.
Open questions
REPAIR GRANT AGREEMENT
Questions on the requirements and term of the Repair Grant Agreement, who signs the Agreement, and the form of the assistance.
Open questions
REBUILD PROGRAM
Questions on the Rebuild developers, Choose Your Own Contractor, and building larger homes.
Open questions
REIMBURSEMENT
Questions on eligibility, the Decent, Safe, and Sanitary standards, and lead hazards.
Open questions
REIMBURSEMENT GRANT AGREEMENT
Questions on the requirements and term of the Reimbursement Grant Agreement, who signs the Agreement, and the form of the assistance.
Open questions
ACQUISITIONS AND BUYOUTS
Questions on the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment Program, the difference between acquisitions and buyouts, eligibility, and the offering price.
Open questions
MULTI-FAMILY PROGRAM
Questions on eligibility, priority, loans, contractors, and process steps for the Multi-Family Program.
Open questions
TDAP / RENTERS PROGRAM
Questions on the Temporary Disaster Assistance Program (TDAP) and rental subsidies.
Open questions
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION
Questions on potential reasonable accommodations, eligibility, and how to apply for accommodations
Open questions

GENERAL INFORMATION

What is New York City doing to help people whose homes were damaged by Sandy?
The NYC Build It Back Program assists homeowners, landlords, and tenants affected by Hurricane Sandy within all five boroughs of New York City. The Program consists of multiple pathways, including: repair, repair with elevation, or rebuilding of damaged homes; reimbursement for repair work already carried out; and acquisition of damaged homes.

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Can I still register for Build it Back?
No. Build it Back registration closed on October 31, 2013.

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What happens after I register?
After registration, you should begin to gather documents that you will need for your application. A list of suggested documents can be found here. You will be called to schedule an in-person appointment at a Build it Back Center with a Housing Recovery Specialist.

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How do I confirm, reschedule, or cancel or my appointment with a Housing Recovery Specialist?
If you need to make a change to your appointment, please call Build it Back Customer Service at 212-615-8329. If you need to leave a message, you will receive a call back within two business days.

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If I live in New York City, should I also apply to the New York State Rising Housing Recovery Program?
The NY Rising Housing Recovery Program is the assistance program for residents of New York State who reside outside of the five boroughs of New York City and whose affected homes are outside of the five boroughs of New York City. Because the registration for NY Rising is only intended for residents outside of NYC, you should have applied to NYC Build it Back separately.

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I own multiple tenant-occupied homes, but I only registered one address with Build it Back. What should I do?
When you schedule your initial meeting, notify your scheduler or Housing Recovery Specialist that you own these properties because you may be able to complete applications for all of them at the same time rather than go through multiple appointments.

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Who is required to be listed as a co-applicant? 
All owners of a property must be present for the initial intake meeting at a Build it Back Center with a Housing Recovery Specialist (unless Power of Attorney is granted to another person) and sign the required forms and provide the required documentation.

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If I am not an owner of the property, but I am married to an owner of the property and I have lived at the property for many years, can I be a co-applicant?
Only an owner or a co-owner of a property may be an applicant. In cases where an owner wishes to have another individual represent them in the application process, the owner must grant that individual power of attorney. You can find this Power of Attorney form online or a Housing Recovery Specialist can provide you with one.

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Is every co-applicant required to provide income information?
Income information is only required from individuals who are members of the household living in the home. For example, consider a mother and daughter who own a home together, but only the mother lives in the home. While the Program requires both the mother and daughter to be co-applicants, the Program requires income information only from the mother (and anyone else who lives in the home), but not the daughter. 

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How are applications prioritized?
We prioritize registrants based on the level of damage and financial need, as based on Area Median Income (AMI). Those with the most damage and highest financial need will receive a higher priority. Click here for a graph showing prioritization levels.

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Where are the Build it Back Centers located?
The locations of the Build it Back Centers are listed below. If you're not sure where your meeting is, we recommend you call Customer Service at 212-615-8329 to confirm your meeting location and time. Please note that you may visit a Build it Back location without an appointment in order to deliver missing documents or for any questions following your Options Review Meeting.

 

  • Far Rockaway
    • 10-01 Beach 20th St.
    • Note: The Center's entrance is next to the Queens Library for Teens on the corner of Beach 20th and Cornaga Avenue.
  • Breezy Point 
    • Ft. Tilden,415 State Rd Breezy Point.
    • Note: The Center's entrance is across the street from Beach 178th St.
  • Coney Island
    • NYC Human Resources Administration Center.3050 West 21st St.
    • Note: The Center is between Surf Avenue and the Boardwalk.
  • Staten Island East Shore
    • 1976 Hylan Blvd.
    • Note: The Center is located at the Kia Dealership between Jefferson and Stobe Avenues. 

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If I have a Build it Back question not answered here, what should I do? 
For any question about NYC Build it Back, please call Customer Service at 212-615-8329 or email them at housing@recovery.nyc.gov.

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How do I find out more information about business assistance?
NYC Economic Development Corporation and NYC Small Business Services handle business disaster relief. You can find more information here.

 

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I withdrew from Build it Back. Am I allowed to reactivate my application?
Yes. If you voluntarily withdrew from the Program, you can reactivate your application and start from where you left off in the process. You may reactivate your application by calling Customer Service at 212-615-8329 or emailing housing@recovery.nyc.gov.

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HOMEOWNER

What are the criteria for eligibility?
Personal eligibility requirements include:

  • Homeowners and landlords must have owned the damaged property at the time of the storm (October 29, 2012) and maintained ownership.
  • The property must be a primary residence (whether owner-occupied, or renter-occupied year-round). Per federal regulations, second homes are not eligible for assistance.
  • US citizenship or qualified alien status.

Property eligibility requirements include:

  • Homes must be located within the five boroughs of New York City.
  • Homes must have suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

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What if I've already received other funds to help me make repairs?
The Federal disaster recovery funds which are being used to assist eligible applicants are subject to certain requirements. The Program must confirm that applicants have not already received financial assistance from other sources for the same activities for which the program is providing assistance.   If applicants have already received assistance from other sources, it may impact the amount of assistance that  they may receive from the Program. Examples of other sources which applicants may be required to disclose in order to receive repair or reconstruction assistance include, but are not limited to:
  • FEMA Individual Assistance for Structure (IA);
  • FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), for structure, not contents;
  • Private Insurance, for structure, not contents;
  • Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC);
  • Small Business Administration (SBA);
  • New York State assistance;
  • Philanthropic funds granted specifically for home repair.

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My income has changed in the last year. Should I still provide my most recent 1040 form?
The Program needs to record your current income. If your income has changed since your last tax filing, you do not need to submit your tax return as a supporting document as proof of income. Instead, you can submit any other forms of documentation that reflect your current income, as defined here. In addition to the required income certification form, this may include, but is not limited to, paystubs, unemployment checks, disability checks or direct deposit receipts. You must still account for all of the household income.

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How do FEMA grants, SBA loans and insurance payouts affect my Build it Back award offering?
Insurance payouts, FEMA grants, SBA loans  and other forms of disaster recovery assistance are considered assistance that is available to you to address unmet needs. If your housing needs have not been fully met through these other forms of assistance, you may still be eligible for an award offering to cover the difference.

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I qualified for an SBA loan but did not take one. Will that affect the amount of assistance I can potentially get from Build it Back?
If you wrote or called SBA to reject a loan for which you were approved, then you declined your SBA loan. If you declined your loan and still have unmet need, meaning that you still need funds to repair or rebuild your home, Build it Back is required by HUD to consider the reasons that you declined the SBA loan when determining your overall grant award.

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Can I be reimbursed for work I've already done?
Build It Back will include reimbursements for owners of some 1-4 unit buildings who have already paid out-of-pocket for repairs. Repairs must be completed by the time of the Damage Assessment. To comply with federal guidance, costs incurred after (or costs associated with contracts signed after) October 29, 2013 will not be eligible for reimbursements. You can read more details about the Reimbursement Program in the FAQs section on Reimbursement

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Are there restrictions if I get assistance from Build it Back?
Homeowners must maintain ownership of the assisted property for one year after the date of construction completion or they must pay back a portion of the grant amount. Properties in the flood plain may also be subject to a federal requirement to maintain flood insurance in perpetuity. Failure to maintain flood insurance when required may result in ineligibility for future federal assistance, should a future disaster event occur.

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Will I receive money directly from Build it Back?
The Build it Back Program provides two types of awards to applicants after determining they are eligible to receive assistance. If an applicant is receiving construction assistance to repair, repair and elevate or rebuild their home, the Program does not give money directly to the applicant. Instead, the Program pays contractors directly for construction work that is completed. If an applicant is receiving reimbursement, City acquisition and relocation or relocation assistance, the Program will make a payment directly to the applicant. New York State acquisition and buyout payments are made by the State directly to the applicant.

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DAMAGE ASSESSMENT

What is a damage assessment?
A damage assessment is a home visit which allows Build it Back to evaluate the damage to your home caused by Hurricane Sandy. Build it Back also determines what work you have done to repair your home, what work is still needed to complete your repairs, and any environmental or safety issues that may be present in your home.

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Who will contact me to schedule an appointment for the damage assessment?
You will receive a call from Build it Back to schedule your appointment. In addition, the evening before your scheduled appointment you will receive a reminder call from Build it Back. Please note that the phone numbers used to call you may be different.

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If I have ongoing construction, can I stop for the day and have my home assessed?
No, you should complete all repairs already started or stop all repairs permanently before scheduling a damage assessment.

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Who will visit my home?
The Damage Assessment Team includes the damage assessor, a certified lead-based paint risk assessor and a certified asbestos investigator.

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Does the Damage Assessment Team need to gain entry into every room?
Yes, the Damage Assessment Team will need to visit every room in the home and every unit in the building - even if you do not think the room or unit was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Build it Back needs to evaluate environmental and safety issues as well as confirm whether storm damage has occurred. This includes visiting rooms upstairs even if the basement was the only area damaged. The same is true for attached garages. Build it Back will not evaluate unattached or separate uninhabited buildings such as sheds and garages on the property, as these are outside of the scope of the Build it Back Program.

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Why is the Damage Assessment Team testing for lead-based paint?
If your home was built prior to 1978, Federal regulations require that Build it Back identify lead-based paint hazards. Lead-based paint that is not flaking or chipping is generally not a hazard. However, lead-based paint may become a hazard if it starts to flake or chip and falls to the floor as dust or chips. If Build it Back performs repairs on your home, lead-based paint hazards will be mitigated by licensed professionals.

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Why is the Damage Assessment Team testing for asbestos?
New York City regulations require certain building materials to be tested to determine if they contain asbestos prior to work being performed. Asbestos-containing materials that are not damaged or disturbed are not likely to pose a health risk. Should asbestos-containing materials need to be impacted during the course of Build it Back's repairs, asbestos hazards will be mitigated by licensed professionals.

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Does the Damage Assessment Team need to walk around my property?
Yes, the Damage Assessment Team will walk around your property. The Team may sample exposed soil around your home to make sure there is no significant lead contamination. The Team will also evaluate the environment surrounding your home, such as waterfront, oil spills, etc.

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Will the Damage Assessment Team be taking photos?
Yes, the Damage Assessment Team will take photos of the outside and inside of your home.

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Who has access to the information that the Damage Assessment Team collects, including the photos?
All staff and consultants employed by the Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery Operations and NYC Build it Back may have access to the information gathered and any photos taken. All staff and consultants have signed confidentiality agreements.

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How long will the damage assessment take?
Depending on the size of your home and the extent of storm damage, the damage assessment will take between 1.5 and 3 hours. However, this time may vary by home.

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Do I have to be present at the damage assessment? Can I send someone else in my place?
In order for the Damage Assessment Team to conduct a thorough visit and gather accurate information, Build it Back recommends that homeowners are present during the damage assessment. If you cannot attend the damage assessment yourself, you may allow someone else to be there in your place as long as there is a signed Right of Entry (F3) form on file with Build it Back. Additionally, the person who attends on your behalf should have a signed Communications Designee (F8) form or Power of Attorney (F15) form on file with Build it Back. You can find these forms on nyc.gov/builditback.

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What repair work is reimbursable?
Only work completed by you or your contractor prior to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy (October 29, 2013) will be eligible for reimbursements.

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How and when can I get a copy of the damage assessment report?
The damage assessment report will be available at your Options Review Meeting or you can request one following your Options Review Meeting by contacting Build it Back Customer Service at (212) 615-8329 or housing@recovery.nyc.gov.

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I did not have a lead or asbestos inspection during my damage assessment. Do I need another assessment?
If you did not have a lead or asbestos inspection at the time of your damage assessment, Build it Back will either schedule a follow-up visit before your Options Review Meeting or return to the home after you have signed an Options Selection Agreement.

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OPTIONS REVIEW MEETING

What is the Options Review Meeting?
The goal of the Options Review Meeting (ORM) is for you to learn about your available award pathway(s): repair, repair with elevation, reconstruction, acquisition and/or reimbursement. If necessary, the ORM will also be used to obtain any additional documents or information needed by the Build it Back Program. A Housing Recovery Specialist will guide you through this meeting.

If all of your paperwork is complete at your ORM, you will be able to sign documents that will allow your project to move forward in the Build it Back Program. If additional information is required from you at the conclusion of your ORM, you will be given a checklist for any remaining information or documents that are needed to complete your application. 

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How long will the Options Review Meeting take?
The Options Review Meeting (ORM) typically lasts for one hour. However, the ORM may take longer, so we ask that you allow for two hours when finding time in your schedule. Build it Back will call to schedule your first ORM after your damage assessment and once all of your paperwork is in order. After your ORM, if at any time you wish to schedule a follow-up appointment, confirm an upcoming appointment, or cancel a scheduled appointment, please call the Scheduling Line at (888) 273-1112.

If you would like to know your application status, and when to expect an ORM, please contact Build it Back Customer Service by calling (212) 615-8329 or emailing housing@recovery.nyc.gov.

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Who needs to attend the Options Review Meeting?
All applicants and co-applicants (owners) of the damaged property should attend the Options Review Meeting (ORM). All owners must be present to sign forms that might require signatures during the ORM, unless a notarized Power of Attorney form (F15) is provided.  You can download a copy of this form here.

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What happens during the Options Review Meeting?
At the beginning of the Options Review Meeting (ORM), the Housing Recovery Specialist will describe the purpose of the meeting and review any documents that need to be collected in order to complete your application for the Build it Back Program. Next, the Housing Recovery Specialist will review all disaster recovery benefits that the Build it Back Program understands that you received or were entitled to receive. Additionally, the Housing Recovery Specialist will verify the value of repairs and other allowable costs determined during the damage assessment of your property. Lastly, the Housing Recovery Specialist will review the award pathway and options for which you are eligible, along with the process for moving forward in the Build it Back Program.

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What is the Declaration of Sandy Expenses form (F13) and how does that fit into the Options Review Meeting?
One of the most important documents necessary to complete your Build it Back application is the Declaration of Sandy Expenses form (F13), which should be submitted prior to your Options Review Meeting (ORM). This form allows you to report how you spent your own resources and/or any disaster recovery benefits that you received from sources other than the Build it Back Program.

Please note that Federal law requires that all of the benefits received for your home from sources such as FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, private insurance and flood insurance must be applied to permanent repairs of your home or other eligible expenses. The F13 helps us make this determination. If you received funds from these sources but have not spent them on eligible items, you may be required to present the Build it Back Program with those funds before proceeding with the Build it Back award pathway. This will be indicated on the Coordination of Benefits (COB) Worksheet, which is described in the next question.

Please refer to the F13 for detailed instructions for what are included as allowable expenses.

If you can document that you spent your own resources and/or disaster recovery benefits on eligible recovery expenses, you may be able to receive a higher benefit amount or reimbursement from Build it Back. You must provide documentation such as receipts or paid invoices with this form in order to receive credit for your expenses.

Please be sure to submit this form, with the necessary receipts, as soon as possible to ensure that Build it Back has properly accounted for storm-related expenses. Both a blank F13 and a sample  completed F13 can be found here.

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What happens at the end of the Options Review Meeting?
In order to successfully conclude an Options Review Meeting (ORM), you will need to sign two documents:
  • The Coordination of Benefits Worksheet (COB) summarizes the disaster recovery benefits you received from private insurance, government, or other organizations. The Worksheet also shows the cost of your repairs to date based on Build it Back's damage assessment of your property. Please note that Federal law requires that all of the benefits received for your home from sources such as FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, private insurance and flood insurance must be applied to permanent repairs of your home or other eligible expenses. The F13 helps us make this determination. If you received funds from these sources but have not spent them on eligible items, you may be required to present the Program with those funds before proceeding with the Build it Back award pathway. This will be indicated on the Worksheet.
  • The Option Selection Agreement (OSA) identifies the Build it Back award pathway for which you are eligible (repair, repair with elevation, reconstruction, acquisition and/or reimbursement). If your application is complete, you will be required to select a pathway and sign the agreement at the conclusion of your meeting in order to move forward.
Once the Coordination of Benefits Worksheet and Option Selection Agreement are signed and the ORM is completed, you will be given a Next Steps checklist and your application will move forward in the pathway you have selected.  

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How do I turn in any remaining or additional information after the Options Review Meeting?
It is essential that you complete any items on the remaining information/documents Next Steps checklist within two weeks of your ORM so that the Build it Back Program can move your application forward in the process.

You may submit documents prior to your Options Review Meeting, including your Declaration of Sandy Expenses form (F13), at a Build it Back Center or by one of the methods below. Please be sure to include your application number on the top of each document page.

Mail: 14 Murray Street #150, New York, NY 10007
E-Mail: builditbackdocuments@recovery.nyc.gov
Fax: (855) 212-1912

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COUNSELING FOR HOMEOWNERS

What is the NYC Build it Back Counseling Program? What types of issues are eligible for counseling?
BIB offers counseling referrals to eligible applicants who may need additional assistance moving their application along in the BIB Program. Applicants in need of services outside of the scope of the BIB program may be provided with a referral list of other City and nonprofit support services. The BIB Counseling Program may be able to provide support for the following issues related to a person's application:

  • Delinquent Mortgage and Foreclosure – Applicant is having trouble remaining current on a mortgage, is struggling with a mortgage forbearance plan, or has entered into foreclosure proceedings
  • Title Issues – Applicant is unable to obtain proof of ownership of their property e.g. divorce-related ownership issues, obtaining title to property, estates, etc.
  • Replacing lost or difficult to obtain documentation – e.g. proof of identity, proof of citizenship, proof of income, a mortgage statement or other key documents
  • Documentation of income – Applicant has trouble obtaining verification of income documentation, e.g. self-employed applicants or applicants who did not file taxes in past year
  • Insurance Issues – Applicant is having difficulty with their mortgage servicer who refuses to release insurance proceeds for home repairs, or experiencing a delay in receiving repair or other funds from an insurance company (Counselors will NOT provide representation in litigation)
  • Landlord Issues – Applicants who are experiencing problems obtaining rental income from a rental unit in their home
  • SBA Loan Issues – Applicant is having difficulty making payments on their SBA Loans
  • Denial of FEMA benefits based on a significant misunderstanding, e.g. applicant owns property but FEMA believes the opposite and has denied benefits
  • Victim of illegal practices – Applicant has been a victim of scam, fraud, price gouging, or unfair lending with regard to their Hurricane Sandy-impacted property
  • Program Option Selection – Counseling is available to offer analysis, advice, and assistance on the financial implications of the BIB Program Options available to an applicant

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When can I be referred to the BIB Counseling Program?
You can be referred to counseling during your application process for the BIB Program. You may request it or it may be offered to you when speaking with a Housing Recovery Specialist at a Build it Back Center. One of our Customer Service Representatives may suggest this to you over the phone as well.

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What should I expect when I am referred to Counseling?
Legal and housing financial counselors will be able to provide advice and assistance, but will not represent applicants in litigation. When you agree to be referred to counseling, you will be asked you to sign a Waiver of Liability with the City of New York. Your information will then be passed along to our NYC Build it Back Counseling Partners who will contact you to further assess your needs and may ask you additional questions related to your specific situation.

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What will happen to my application if I am behind on my mortgage?
Although a delinquent mortgage will not immediately impact the ability of your application to move forward in the Build it Back process, we recommend that you seek assistance from our Counseling Partners to try to bring your mortgage current.

Should your home enter into foreclosure (i.e. your lender has filed a foreclosure Summons and Complaint against you) during your time with the Build it Back program, your application will not be processed for the Repair or Rebuild Program options until you reach a sustainable solution with your servicer. See question below.

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If I am in foreclosure, can I still continue in the NYC Build it Back Program?
Should your home enter into foreclosure (i.e. your lender has filed a foreclosure Summons and Complaint against you) during your time with the Build it Back program, your application will not be processed for the Repair or Rebuild Program options until you reach a sustainable solution with your servicer. The City of New York intends to invest in neighborhoods and provide housing solutions for applicants who have been impacted by Sandy. If an applicant is in foreclosure, they will be referred to counseling and will not advance through the application process for the Repair or Rebuild Program options unless the foreclosure is resolved.

The City will be verifying whether a Summons and Complaint has been filed against properties under the Build it Back Program. In order to move forward in the program, an applicant will be required to enter into the Build it Back Counseling Program and obtain a solution with the servicer. The Build it Back Counseling Partners can help you through this process by working with you and your mortgage servicer.

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What if I am already working with a non-profit agency on a mortgage issue?
You may continue to work with your provider on your mortgage issue. In cases where a Build it Back Counseling Partner is needed to help move a case along in the program, e.g. your property is in foreclosure, they will be able to coordinate your case with your other assistance provider(s).

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Who are the Build it Back Counseling Partners?
The Build it Back Counseling Partners are non-profit organizations with trained housing financial and legal counselors who have a range of experience working in your community.

These housing financial counselors can help customers address housing and mortgage-related issues that may impede their ability to proceed through the program (foreclosure, mortgage delinquency, mortgage forbearance, etc.). They will also help customers understand the complex financial implications of their Build it Back Program Options. Housing counselors have experience and expertise in mortgage finance and foreclosure prevention, including helping homeowners with hardships apply for lower payments with their mortgage company.

Legal counselors will advise customers on the laws governing their individual situations, and help them resolve mortgage, insurance, title and ownership issues, and other legal obstacles. Legal counselors under the program will advise and assist only, and will not represent the customer in litigation.
Lawyers providing assistance under the program have experience with foreclosure prevention, mortgage and real property issues, insurance, family law issues as they relate to the home, and addressing consumer fraud.

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FLOOD INSURANCE

How do I know if I qualify for ICC (Increased Cost of Compliance)?
You qualify for ICC if you had a flood insurance policy at the time of Sandy and your home was substantially damaged. You could receive up to $30,000 to elevate your home or implement other resiliency improvements to protect your home from damage in future severe weather events. You can find more information and how to file an ICC claim with your insurance company here.

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What are the flood insurance requirements if I participate in the Build it Back Program?

There are two sets of flood insurance requirements that apply to you: the Federal Requirement and the Build it Back Requirement.

Federal Requirement: If you receive Federal assistance for your flood damaged home from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Small Business Administration (SBA) or the City's Community District Block Grant-funded Build it Back Program, you are required by Federal law to cover the building for flood insurance for as long as you own it. If you sell the building, you are required to inform the new owner that they must purchase and maintain flood insurance. Failure to carry flood insurance on a property that previously received Federal funds to recover from flood damage could result in the denial of future Federal disaster assistance. The City does not have control over this requirement and it applies to all persons in a SFHA who have already received FEMA or SBA assistance for flood damage to their homes.

Build it Back Requirement: If you participate in the Rebuild Program and your home is reconstructed, you will be required to provide evidence that you are carrying flood insurance on your new home when construction is completed.

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What is a Special Flood Hazard Area?

Also known as the 100-year floodplain, this is an area that has a 1% or greater risk of flooding in any given year. These high risk areas are indicated on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) produced by FEMA. In these Special Flood Hazard Areas, there is a 26% chance of flooding over the life of a 30-year mortgage.

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If I only choose reimbursement, am I still required to carry flood insurance?

Yes, if you receive any assistance from Build it Back other than acquisition or buyout and your home is located in a SFHA, you are required to buy flood insurance for your property.

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How do I know if my home is in a SFHA?

FEMA determines whether your home is located in a SFHA based upon your home's location relative to FEMA's Flood Insurance Rate Maps. You can look up your address here. The Build it Back Program's Feasibility Report also lists your flood zone and will tell you if you are in the current or future SFHA. You may request a copy of your Feasibility Report from the Program after your damage assessment has been completed.

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How much flood insurance do I have to carry for the Program?

The Build it Back Program requires you to carry flood insurance in an amount equal to the grant provided by the Build it Back Program or the maximum amount of flood insurance which is available from the NFIP, whichever is less. If you receive multiple grants for the Build it Back Program, you must carry flood insurance in the total amount of all assistance you receive or the maximum amount of flood insurance which is available from the NFIP, whichever is less. FEMA, the SBA and other Federal programs may require different amounts of flood coverage.

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Who do I contact if I want to find out how much flood insurance will cost or if I want to purchase a flood insurance policy?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has an arrangement with private insurance companies to sell and service flood insurance policies. You can find more information here or by contacting your insurance agent or company to find out more about Federal flood insurance. The Build it Back Program encourages you to find out what your flood insurance rates will be prior to signing the Program's grant or loan agreement. The Build it Back Program cannot provide you a cost of flood insurance for your home.

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ONGOING CONSTRUCTION

What are the rules regarding ongoing construction?
Construction must stop or be completed prior to the Damage Assessment being performed. Performing repairs after the Damage Assessment may require a new Environmental Review, which may impact eligibility.

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How does ongoing construction affect projects that are potentially eligible for the Repair Program?
Build it Back will not be able to perform a Damage Assessment or Design Consultation until all in-progress repairs are complete and all work has stopped on the home. Performing repairs after the Damage Assessment may require a new Environmental Review, which may impact eligibility. All open permits must be closed in order for the applicant to move forward in the Repair Program.

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How does ongoing construction affect projects that are potentially eligible for the Reimbursement Program?
Build it Back cannot reimburse applicants for any expenses incurred after the earlier of either October 29, 2013 or the date of the Damage Assessment. Work completed under contracts signed before October 29, 2013 may be eligible. These Reimbursement rules are based upon the Federal Requirements established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for CDBG-DR grantees, like Build it Back.

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If NYC Department of Buildings demolished my home because of damage caused by Sandy, am I still eligible for Build it Back?
The demolition of your home by the Department of Buildings has no bearing on your eligibility for the Build it Back Program.

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DESIGN CONSULTATION

What is the Design Consultation?
The Design Consultation is a meeting at your home between you, your contractor and the Build it Back Design Specialists. At the Design Consultation, your contractor and the Build it Back Design Specialists will develop a list of repairs to be completed in your home. The meeting will last from two to four hours. A Build it Back Repair Customer Service Representative will call you to schedule this meeting.

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What happens at the Design Consultation?
At the Design Consultation, your home will be fully inspected, you will finalize your design selections, and you will sign important construction agreements. The lead Design Specialist and your contractor will walk through every part of your home to make a detailed list of all repairs that will be completed by your contractor. The Design Specialists will work with you to review your color and style choices from the Home Design Selection Brochure. Before your contractor can begin construction, you must sign a construction agreement.

Note: If you are using the Choose Your Own Contractor option and want to customize some of your style and color choices, you will work on the designs with your own contractor. The Design Specialist will only be able to help with choices included in the Home Design Selection Brochure.

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When does the Design Consultation take place?
The Design Consultation will be scheduled after you have completed an Options Review Meeting and signed an Options Selection Agreement for the Repair program.

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Who attends the Design Consultation?
You, the contractor, and Build it Back Design Specialists all attend the Design Consultation. Design Specialists are professionals responsible for fully inspecting your home and developing a list of repairs. It is possible that other professionals may also attend, like an asbestos or lead inspector.

Note: Please lock away any pets larger than 30 pounds while the Design Consultation is taking place and make sure all small animals are secured.

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Do I need to attend the Design Consultation or can I send someone in my place?
You must attend this meeting to in order understand the work that will be done to your home and sign all of the required agreements before construction can begin. You may bring others to the meeting, including a Communications Designee.

Note: If you have someone designated with Power of Attorney, he or she MUST be present.

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What is the construction agreement?
You must sign a construction agreement in order for construction to begin on your home.

If you are using a Build it Back Contractor, you will sign a Tri-Party Agreement. This agreement is between three parties: the Build it Back Program (signed by the lead Design Specialist), the Build it Back Contractor and the homeowner. You can view a sample Tri-Party Agreement here.

If you are using the Choose Your Own Contractor option, you will sign a Home Improvement Contract. This agreement is between two parties: the selected contractor and the homeowner. You can view a sample Home Improvement Contract here.

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What does the construction agreement include?
Some important items included in both construction agreements are:

  • Construction start and finish dates
  • Homeowner / tenant relocation dates
  • Personal property removal dates
  • Your rights and responsibilities as the homeowner
  • Contractor responsibilities
  • Terminating the contract

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Do I have to sign the construction agreement at the Design Consultation?
Sometimes, the construction agreement will be ready to sign at the Design Consultation. If you are ready, we highly encourage you to sign the agreement at that time. If you decide not to sign the agreement, it could delay your construction start date. However, if you need more time, you can arrange to sign the agreement at a different time or location. In some cases, your contractor and Design Specialist may need additional time to finalize the list of repairs.

If you are using a Build it Back contractor, you can work with the Design Specialist to schedule another time and location to sign the Tri-Party Agreement.

If you are using your own contractor, it is not necessary to sign the Home Improvement Contract at the Design Consultation. When you are finished with your customization choices, then you will sign the Home Improvement Contract. Your contractor will then mail the Home Improvement Contract to the Build it Back Program. Please keep a copy for your records.

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I changed my mind about what finishes I want for my home. Can I change the Tri-Party Agreement?
Unfortunately, once you have settled on finishes for your home and you have signed the Tri-Party Agreement, you cannot change the details of the agreement.

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REPAIR PROGRAM

What kind of repairs to my home can I expect in the Repair Program?
Only your Design Specialist and contractor will be able to tell you exactly what repairs will be made in your home when they meet with you for your Design Consultation. Build it Back will repair many parts of the home, including but not limited to:

  • Exterior building surfaces
  • Foundations and structure
  • Windows and doors
  • Roofing
  • Insulation and ventilation
  • Electric
  • Plumbing systems
  • HVAC
  • Appliances
  • Elevation for substantially damaged homes
  • Lead-based paint and asbestos abatement and mold remediation (as required by law)
You may have the option to customize certain design features in your home, such as finishes in kitchens and bathrooms. Build it Back offers a selection of cabinets, countertops, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, flooring, roofing and siding, which can be found in the Home Design Selection Brochure. You will discuss these options with your Design Specialist and contractor.

 

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Will you repair parts of my home that are not storm-damaged?
If a home is determined to be substantially damaged and thus requires elevation, Build it Back will bring the entire home up to NYC building code to ensure that all interior rooms, exterior components and site are in good working order and condition.

If a home is determined to be non-substantially damaged and thus does not require elevation, Build it Back will rehabilitate all legally constructed and permitted areas above grade that were storm-damaged. In addition, some other parts of the home (such as bathroom fixtures) will be upgraded to Green Building Standards if required (see below).

Build it Back will only repair pre-existing conditions in order to restore an element or system that was affected by storm damage or that may be hazardous or unsafe. The Program will not repair damage that is only the result of deferred maintenance.

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Will you repair or replace my utilities and other systems?
Build it Back will attempt to repair storm-damaged components, systems and/or equipment (including electrical and plumbing) that are not in good working order or condition. When the item cannot be repaired, the contractor will replace it.

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What structural work will you do inside and outside of my home?
Build it Back will repair or replace all storm-damaged interior ceilings, walls and floors, as well as all exterior walls (including foundation walls) or roofs. If there are any additional serious defects that could result in structural failure, the Program will address those as well. Build it Back will ensure that the required home exit route(s) does not create any danger or obstructions to safe exiting. If the exterior envelope of your home was storm-damaged, Build it Back will seal and secure it in order to resist damage from future weather conditions.

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Will you improve my home, or repair it back to its pre-storm condition?
Depending on the level of damage and the conditions of your home, Build it Back may make some improvements to make your home greener, safer, more code compliant and/or more accessible. However, Build it Back will limit repairs in basements and cellars.

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Will the repairs on my home be code compliant?
In order to ensure that Build it Back leaves residents with safe, decent and sanitary housing, we will repair certain code compliance issues observed in the home. This will include addressing life safety hazards in the storm damaged AND non-storm damaged areas of the home.

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Will the repairs on my home resolve any safety issues?
If Build it Back assessors, contractors or inspectors become aware of a condition in the home that involves a critical life safety issue, these repairs will be included in your scope of work. These repairs will be included regardless of whether or not the area was damaged by the storm. Examples of these issues are:

  • Building instability
  • Egress locked or blocked
  • Fire safety issues, such as smoke detectors and sprinklers systems (as required by code)
  • Gas/boiler issues, such as chimney liners, fumes, smoke, and carbon monoxide

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Will the repairs on my home meet my accessibility needs?
If you are deemed eligible for Reasonable Accommodations during program intake, you may receive options for an "accessibility package" in areas being repaired, including ramps and/or lifts. Reasonable Accommodations are explained in more detail in the FAQ section on Reasonable Accommodations.

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Can I do additional work if I use my own contractor?
Build it Back includes several options for you to customize your home. However, some homeowners may want even greater flexibility than what is offered. With Choose Your Own Contractor, you will be able to expand your options beyond the Program offerings for certain items in your home. However, any deviation from the Program offerings must still meet the minimum Program standards in order for your contractor to be paid by the Program. In some cases, your contractor may want to charge you more for these changes.

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What is NOT included in the repairs?
Build it Back assistance will not be used for luxury items, including but not limited to: clothes washers and/or dryers; garage door openers; security systems; swimming pools; fences; decks, landscaping; home furnishings; sheds and garages or other detached structures; special features and trims such as solar panels, sky lights, or wainscoting; television satellite dishes or cable wiring; kitchens and baths in cellars and basements, except where a basement contains a documented dwelling unit; or items not damaged by the storm.

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How will the repairs on my home meet federal Green Building requirements?
Build it Back construction will comply with environmental checklists that promote energy efficiency and green building practices when repairing or replacing items. Some examples of the checklist requirements are:

  • All non-compliant toilets and/or faucets with be replaced with WaterSense certified, water conserving, program approved, fixtures as is required by the Green Building Standards
  • Appliances must be Energy Star rated
  • Interior and exterior lighting must be energy efficient
  • Paints, primers, composite woods and flooring must be environmentally friendly
  • Water heaters, bathroom and kitchen surfaces, and tubs and showers must use materials that prevent mold
  • When windows are replaced, they must be Energy Star rated

Non-substantially damaged buildings will use the CPD Green Retrofit Checklist; substantially damaged buildings will comply with Enterprise Green Communities. Please note that items that are not repaired or replaced by the program will not need to comply with the checklists.

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How will the repairs make my home more resilient?
Where applicable, Build it Back will implement NYC-recommended Flood Resiliency Measures in your home. Build it Back will, when conditions permit, either elevate or otherwise protect from flood damage the following critical building equipment and utilities:

  • Electrical equipment (including panels, switch gear and transformers)
  • Heating and ventilation equipment (including boilers, furnaces and burners)
  • Plumbing equipment (including domestic water equipment and sump pump power feeds)
  • Telecommunications equipment

To comply with this goal, Build it Back will elevate utilities in non-substantially damaged homes to the best of its ability.

Note: Utilities that have been newly repaired or installed post-Sandy will only be elevated if the newly installed equipment can be reused and elevation is feasible. The equipment must be currently working. No newly installed and functioning utilities will be discarded.

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There are some items listed in my scope of work that I don't want. Do I need to have those repairs?
Once you sign the Tri-Party Agreement, work items cannot be removed from the scope. However, the contractor may find that additional items need to be added to the scope during construction. The contractor will notify you if new items are added.

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Can I opt-out of additional minor (non-critical/safety related) work items that were added after I signed the Tri-Party Agreement?
If the contractor finds that additional minor items need to be added to the scope during construction, you may request that Build it Back NOT complete this additional work. However, leaving that item incomplete must not prevent Build it Back from leaving your home in a "decent, safe and sanitary" condition.

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Can I opt-out of additional major, life safety work items that were added after I signed the Tri-Party Agreement?
There are certain items in the original scope that may result in major items being added to the scope of work during construction. For example, an electrical test and inspection may identify a hazardous condition that needs to be repaired. If the additional work is required to leave the home in a "decent, safe and sanitary" condition, you may NOT opt out of the work.

If you refuse to allow Build it Back to complete the work, you will be in violation of the Tri-Party Agreement and the Grant Agreement. You may have to reimburse Build it Back for funds already spent on the construction and processing of the home. In addition, depending on the condition in the home, Build it Back may have to report the condition to the NYC Department of Buildings.

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My pathway changed to elevation after I signed the Tri-Party Agreement and I do not want to be elevated. What can I do?
During construction, it is possible that some additional work added to the scope could cause the home to be "substantially improved" according to the NYC Department of Buildings. Substantial improvement means that the total dollar value of repairs needed in your home is greater than 50% of the pre-storm market value of your home as determined by the NYC Department of Finance.

If this occurs, the home must be elevated to be code compliant. If you refuse to allow Build it Back to complete the work, you will be in violation of the Tri-Party Agreement and the Grant Agreement. You may have to reimburse Build it Back for funds already spent on the construction and processing of the home.

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REPAIR PROGRAM: CHOOSE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR

What is the Choose Your Own Contractor option for the Repair Program?
If you are eligible for the Build it Back Repair Program, you have the option to use a Build it Back contractor OR the option to choose your own contractor. If you would like to use your own contractor to make repairs to your home as part of the Build it Back Repair Program, your selected contractor must first register with Build it Back.

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What's different when I choose my own contractor instead of using the Build it Back contractor?

  • Shorter wait times: One of the biggest advantages to choosing your own contractor is that you may be able to get your work done faster, which means that you can get back into your home sooner.
  • You're the boss: You will be responsible for managing your own contractor's day-to-day activities. Build it Back will still perform periodic progress inspections including a final inspection in order to make sure your contractor is complying with the program requirements. All other communication and coordination with your contractor will be entirely up to you.
  • Greater flexibility of options: The Build it Back Program includes several options for you to customize your home. However, some homeowners may want even greater flexibility than what is offered. With Choose Your Own Contractor, you will be able to expand your options beyond the program offerings.

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How does my contractor register with Build it Back?
In order to register with Build it Back, your contractor must have a Home Improvement Contractor license from the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs; agree to the terms of the Program, which are available here (click on Repair); and complete the online registration form and meet the minimum requirements for the Build it Back Repair Program.

Once you choose a contractor, fill out the Choose Your Own Contractor Selection Form with your contractor's business name and DCA License Number. When your contractor is cleared, the Build it Back Repair Program will contact you to schedule your Design Consultation.

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How can I find my own contractor?
If you don't have anyone in mind, there are a few places you can look for help finding a contractor. Check out the list of Registered Contractors for the Choose Your Own Contractor option. They have already been selected by homeowners and are registered to participate in the Build it Back Repair Program. This list will be updated regularly as new contractors join the Program. You can also go to the Department of Consumer Affairs website and check out their list of all Home Improvement Contractor license holders. Lastly, you can call your local Chamber of Commerce.

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I already started my repairs. What should I do?
If you have already started repairs with your own contractor, you should stop any additional work after your damage assessment takes place and immediately direct your contractor to register with Build it Back. If your contractor is cleared with the Program and you are eligible for the Repair Program, we can schedule a Design Consultation and develop the list of eligible repairs under Build it Back so that you can move forward with repairs through the Program.

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REPAIR WITH ELEVATION PROGRAM

Why does my home need to be elevated?
Elevating your home can protect it from future flood damage. All one-to-four family homes that are determined by Build it Back to be "substantially damaged" by Hurricane Sandy are required to be elevated to comply with the NYC Building Code. "Substantially damaged" means that the cost to repair the storm damage to your home is greater than 50% of the pre-storm market value of your home as determined by the NYC Department of Finance. This calculation uses the value of your home only and does not include the land.

Additionally, elevating your home could reduce your flood insurance costs. Please contact an insurance professional to discuss specific rates.

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How high will my home be elevated?
The height of your home's elevation is based on FEMA flood elevation requirements and the NYC Building Code. According to FEMA, the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) is how high your home must be elevated to protect against flood levels that could damage your home. For added protection, your home will be elevated slightly higher than Base Flood Elevation to comply with the NYC Building Code. The Design Flood Elevation (DFE) is equal to the BFE plus the height of the freeboard.

As a general rule of thumb, your home will be elevated about 2 feet higher than your high water mark.

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What are the benefits of elevating my home?
FEMA's new flood maps show that much more of New York City is at risk of coastal flooding than previously estimated. Elevating your home will lower your risk of future flood damage. Elevating your home to the Design Flood Elevation height (described above) may significantly reduce the cost of your flood insurance premium. Also, elevating high risk homes is important to maintaining the long term safety and resilience of our neighborhoods.

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When will I find out how high my home needs to be elevated?
Your Build it Back Design Specialist will discuss the height and design of your elevation at your Elevation Consultation. This happens after the Option Selection Agreement is signed, and after some initial surveys are performed on your home.

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Whom will I meet with from Build it Back to discuss elevating my home?
First, a licensed land surveyor will inspect conditions around your home to determine how high your home must be elevated. They may also need to take samples of the soil around your home during a follow-up visit. Next, a Build it Back Design Specialist, who is either an architect or engineer, will inspect and take detailed measurements of the inside and outside of your home and discuss how your home might be elevated.

You will meet at your Build it Back Design Specialist's office to review technical elevation drawings. The Design Specialist will show you how you will access your elevated home, where your mechanical equipment will go and what your home will look like after elevation. You must sign a form so that the drawings can be submitted to the NYC Department of Buildings for approval.

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What happens if the Design Specialist determines that my home cannot be elevated?

One of the first steps in the Repair with Elevation pathway is determining the feasibility of the elevation of your home. If the Design Specialist determines that the elevation of your home is not feasible, s/he will recommend that your pathway be changed to the Rebuild Program.

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How can I use the space below my elevated home?
Elevated buildings cannot have any living spaces below the Design Flood Elevation. All basements and cellars will be filled in to the level of the land outside your home during home elevation. After elevation, the space below the lowest elevated floor of your home can only be used for access, storage and parking.

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Will you elevate my mechanical equipment as well?
All mechanical equipment will be raised above Design Flood Elevation during home elevation.

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Will I lose my basement or cellar space?
Build it Back will not replace any basement or cellar space unless it is a legal apartment. Build it Back will rebuild legal basement apartments as part of the elevated home whenever feasible.

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Will I lose my rear deck?
In most cases it is not possible to keep the rear deck. However, Build it Back will attempt to incorporate your existing rear deck into the elevation design, but will never elevate an existing deck. If the deck must be removed during elevation, Build it Back will attempt to construct a landing and staircase from the existing doorway.

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My unit is attached to another and I don't think elevation is possible, what are my options?
Your Design Specialist is a New York State licensed engineer or architect and will analyze and discuss possible options with you once you begin the Elevation Design process. There are a number of solutions for attached homes depending on the exact circumstances. The final result will depend on the actual conditions surrounding your home.

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Will I have to move out during elevation?
Yes, you will have to make arrangements to stay somewhere else while your home is being elevated. Relocation dates will be discussed with your Build it Back Design Specialist and Contractor during your Design Consultation, and will be included in your Tri-Party Agreement. Exact relocation duration depends on many factors, but as a general rule of thumb you should plan to be out of your house for approximately 2 to 3 months.

Build it Back does NOT pay for relocation while your home is being elevated.

Once the home is elevated and the foundation is complete and has passed inspection, you may be able to move back in the home while the rest of the repairs are being completed.

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Will I have to move out all of my belongings?
You should remove any personal items since you will not be able to access your home during the elevation process, which could take up to 3 months. In certain conditions, you may be able to leave large furniture items, such as couches and beds. Your Design Team and Contractor will discuss with you which items must be removed, and your Contractor will move and store items larger than 3 cubic feet (about the size of a microwave). You will be responsible for removing and storing smaller items and valuables.

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Are storage costs a reimbursed expense?
If it is necessary to remove large furniture and objects from the home, Build it Back may pay for the storage. You will be responsible for your personal items.

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What does Build it Back pay for?
Build it Back pays for all costs associated with design and construction, including engineering and permitting costs, and the cost of storing larger personal items (described above). Any storm damage will be repaired and your home will be elevated in compliance with all building codes. Build it Back does not pay for relocation costs, as described previously.

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What if I'm not sure if I want my home elevated? When do I have to make a final decision?
If your home has been determined to be "substantially damaged" it must be elevated to comply with NYC Building Code requirements. If you choose not to elevate, Build it Back is unable to perform any other repairs to your home. Elevating your home could significantly reduce your flood insurance costs, so Build it Back recommends that you consult with an insurance professional to fully understand these costs before deciding that you do not want to elevate.

If you are unsure about elevation because you are concerned about how the new height and design will impact your home, Build it Back recommends that you proceed with the initial Elevation Consultation and attend the Schematic Design Review Meeting with your Build it Back architect or engineer. During this meeting you will gain a better idea of how your home will look after elevation. After this meeting, you must make a decision as to whether or not to proceed by singing your NYC Department of Buildings permit application, which will allow the program to continue with your elevation plan.

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If I choose to elevate, are there any resale or other restrictions?
When you sign the Build it Back Grant Agreement, you agree to maintain ownership of your home for a minimum of 1 year after completing construction. You will also be required to carry flood insurance in an amount at least equal to your grant amount, which is equal to your elevation and construction costs.

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I'm worried that I won't be able to climb the stairs if my house is elevated. What are my options?
Build it Back's design team can work with you to design a ramp or a lift for access to your newly elevated home. You must submit a Reasonable Accommodation Request for program review in order to receive this type of modification to your construction. Build it Back will determine reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis based on the Reasonable Accommodation Request signed by your medical provider, attesting that you have a permanent or chronic medical condition. For more information, review the Reasonable Accommodation FAQ.

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REPAIR WITH ELEVATION PROGRAM: CHOOSE YOUR OWN CONTRACTOR

Can I use a Build it Back contractor for the elevation, but use my own contractor for the rest of the repairs?
No. Your CYOC contractor must be able to perform or subcontract out all of the work, including the elevation. If you want to have Build it Back elevate your home, you must use the City contractor for all of the work.

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Who can perform the elevation?
Your CYOC contractor must use an elevation subcontractor that is approved by Build it Back. They can visit www.nyc.gov/bibcontractorinfo for the elevation subcontractor application. The elevation contractor must be licensed and experienced, and must have insurance and bonding as required by the Program. They will also need to have a satisfactory record of business integrity, specifically regarding complaints and violations. Build it Back will make available a list of approved elevation subcontractors.

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Can I use Build it Back's design team to develop the elevation plans?
Yes. We strongly encourage you to use Build it Back's design team for your elevation plans. Our licensed design professionals will be preparing hundreds of elevation plans for the Build it Back Program and they are experienced with developing elevation plans for Sandy-damaged homes. Build it Back will do everything required for DOB approval, including surveys, borings, and other technical reviews.

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Can I use my own architect for my Build it Back elevation
If you are already working with your own design professional, you may continue using them for your Build it Back elevation. You must submit the name of your NYS-licensed architect to Build It Back, and your architect or engineer will have to meet these requirements:

  • Conduct their own utility markouts, geospatial analysis, land surveys, and soil borings; and prepare the schematic design of the elevation as well as the plans for DOB approval
  • Submit the job number to Build it Back when filing with DOB
  • Use the DOB HUB for submission and approval (unless the job is already approved)
  • File in the manner set out by the Build it Back Quick Guide and obtain DOB approval for the elevation
Once your plans are approved by DOB, you must submit them to Build it Back for review and request your Design Consultation. Build it Back's design team will review your plans for compliance with our minimum program standards. We will note any out-of-scope items that will not be included in the Build it Back job order. As a reminder, Build it Back has limited funding and will not pay for repairs that are unrelated to storm damage or elevation. Build it Back will schedule your design consultation with you, but your contractor and design professional must attend as well.

 

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Can Build it Back pay for my architect's fees?
If your design professional has not already been paid for their design services, Build it Back can pay them through your CYOC contractor. They will be paid a fixed unit price determined by Build it Back.

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REPAIR WITH ELEVATION PROGRAM: CONSTRUCTION

How do I know what work will be done?
You and your Design Specialist and/or contractor should review the list of repairs to be performed in your home. This list is in either your Tri-Party Agreement or Home Improvement Contract, depending on whether you chose your own contractor or not. Please be sure that you understand what work is planned and ask questions if you do not.

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When will my construction begin?
After you sign your Tri-Party Agreement and your Grant Agreement, Build it Back will reach out to you in order to schedule the date that you will start construction. We will coordinate with your contractor and find a date that works for both of you. If you have selected your own contractor, you will sign a Home Improvement Contract instead of a Tri-Party Agreement. The rest of the scheduling process is the same.

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When will my contractor arrive to start the work?
The contractor will contact you one or two days before your scheduled start date to confirm timing. Please call Build it Back Customer Service at (212) 615-8329 if you have any questions regarding scheduling.

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What do I do if I need to change my construction start date? What if I have an emergency that prevents me from starting?
If you have an emergency that prevents the contractor from accessing your home on that date, please contact Build it Back Customer Service at (212) 615-8329 as soon as you can. Changing the start date for your construction can cause additional delays for the contractor and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to reschedule your start date immediately.

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Do I have to relocate during construction?
You may have to relocate during construction depending on the type of repairs being performed on your home. If there is lead or asbestos abatement necessary, you will need to be out of the house during the abatement process. However, sometimes the abatement can be completed in one day. Your contractor will let you know when and how long you will need to find other arrangements. If your home is being elevated, you will have to make arrangements to be out of your home during the elevation process.

If you have any tenants who must be temporarily relocated, you will have certain obligations associated with their relocation. Prior to relocation, you and your tenants will meet with the Build it Back Program for a discussion about your responsibilities as a landlord.

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Should I be home when the construction is going on?
You do not need to be home when the construction is going on; however, you will need to give the contractor access to the parts of your home that need to be repaired. You also need to give the contractor access to utilities.

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What do I do if I have a complaint about the work?
If you have a question or complaint about anything relating to construction, please call Build it Back Customer Service at (212) 615-8329.

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Can I change the scope of repairs once work has commenced?
Once you have signed the Construction Agreement, the scope of work cannot be changed unless the contractor discovers additional repair needs during construction. For example, if opening up a wall reveals additional electrical repair needs, the contractor will work with Build it Back to add it to the scope of work.

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Can I change my custom selections after construction has started?
No, you cannot change your custom selections after you sign the Construction Agreement.

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Who will be at my home during the construction phase?
You will meet a representative of the construction company at your Design Consultation. That person may continue to monitor the repairs on your home; however, the contractor may assign additional employees to perform or supervise the work. There will be one "Superintendent" assigned to your home throughout construction. In addition, the contractor will likely hire one or more specialty subcontractors, such as plumbers, electricians, or carpenters to perform parts of the job.

Representatives from inspection firms and other City representatives may also visit your home during the construction. Anyone working on or inspecting your home should have a Build it Back ID badge. If you are concerned about someone on your property without an ID badge, please call Build it Back Customer Service at (212) 615-8329. If you are concerned about fraud, please call the NYC Department of Investigation's Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fraud Hotline (212) 825-5959.

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Is anyone inspecting the work?
Yes. Due to the varied nature of eligible construction work there are numerous points where an inspection may be necessary. At a minimum (if the work doesn't require a permit), Build it Back provides a midpoint inspection – prior to closing up walls or after we have completed about 50% of the construction work – as well as a final acceptance inspection once the construction is 100% complete. Any inspections required by the NYC Building Code will be requested directly by the contractor to the NYC Department of Buildings.

Note: not all construction jobs require Building Code inspections.

If your home is going to be elevated, an additional set of program inspections will be performed: prior to elevation, during elevation, and upon completion of the new foundation of your home. Elevations and certain construction projects may also require Special Inspections, which are required by the NYC Department of Buildings.

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Do I need to be at the inspections?
You do not need to be present for the inspections, although you are welcome to be there if you wish. The inspectors will be reviewing the contractors' work and will not need to speak to the homeowner. However, you do need to provide access to the home for the inspections, as they take place during the construction job.

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How do I know when the construction is finished?
The inspectors will perform a final inspection and, if it is passed, they will approve the home as complete. Build it Back will notify you when the repairs are signed off and complete.

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REPAIR GRANT AGREEMENT

What is the Repair Grant Agreement?
The Repair Grant Agreement contains the terms of the Build it Back Repair Grant for the repair of your home that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The Repair Grant Agreement is between the owner(s) (applicants and co-applicants) and the New York City Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery Operations. The Repair Grant Agreement includes the Repair Grant amount from the City for the repair of your home. The Build it Back Repair Program is referred to as "Rehabilitation" in the Repair Grant Agreement  

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Who signs the Repair Grant Agreement?
All owners named on the deed to your property (applicants and co-applicants) must sign the Repair Grant Agreement before a notary public. Please remember to bring proper identification to present to the notary public.

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When is the Repair Grant Agreement signed?
The Repair Grant Agreement is signed after the Tri-Party Agreement if a City Contractor is being used. For the Choose Your Own Contractor Program, the Repair Grant Agreement is signed after the Home Improvement Contract following the Design Consultation.

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What is the term of the Repair Grant Agreement?
The term of the Repair Grant Agreement begins the date that it is signed by the owner(s) and ends one year from the completion of the construction work performed.

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What are the basic requirements of the Repair Grant Agreement?
The basic Repair Grant Agreement includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

  • The repair will be undertaken according to either the terms of the Tri-Party Agreement or the Home Improvement Contract.
  • If the property is insured, the owner will notify their home insurance company about the rehabilitation work covered by the Repair Grant Agreement.
  • If the property is located within a Special Flood Hazard Area, the homeowner must obtain flood insurance for the property upon project completion, as required by the Flood Disaster Act of 1973.
  • Sale or transfer of the home during the one year term of the Repair Grant Agreement requires approval by the Build it Back Program.

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What is the restriction on the sale of the property during the term of the Repair Grant Agreement?
The owner may not sell or convey ownership of the property during the term of the Repair Grant Agreement without written permission of the City. If the property is sold or conveyed during the term of the Repair Grant Agreement without permission of the City, the owner will be liable to repay the City a portion of the Repair Grant amount. The Owner may transfer the property to another owner or a family member, but they will be bound by the terms of the Repair Grant Agreement.

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Where does the dollar figure on the Repair Grant Agreement come from? 
The dollar figure for the total Repair Grant amount in the Agreement is based on the Total Development Costs identified in your Tri-Party Agreement with a City Contractor or in your Home Improvement Contract for the Choose Your Own Contractor Program. We then subtract the required Homeowner Contribution ("transfer amount") from the Coordination of Benefits Worksheet. For example, if the total Development Costs are $20,000 and you have a $5,000 transfer amount, then the total Repair Grant amount would be $15,000. 

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Is the assistance from the Build it Back Program in the form of a Repair Grant or a mortgage? Is there a lien?
This is a Repair Grant and not a mortgage or lien. The terms of the Repair Grant Agreement are contractually binding to both parties. There is not an expectation that this Repair Grant will be paid back by the recipient if all terms of the Repair Grant agreement are fulfilled.

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Can my home be foreclosed by the City if I default on the terms of the Repair Grant Agreement?
No. The Repair Grant Agreement is not a lien or a mortgage so there is no ability for the Build it Back Program to foreclose on your property.  

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Do I have to make any payments on the Repair Grant Agreement?
No. The Repair Grant Agreement is not a lien or a mortgage and there are no payments required. Repair Grants are forgivable once all terms of the Repair Grant Agreement are fulfilled. You will only be required to repay Repair Grant funds if you do not fulfill the terms of the Repair Grant Agreement. An example of this would be if you sold your home during the one-year homeownership requirement without permission from the Build it Back Program.

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Are there other insurance requirements and when do they apply?
The Repair Grant Agreement only requires the purchase of flood insurance if the structure is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area or floodplain upon completion of construction. If you have a mortgage, your lender may require additional insurance such as fire or liability.

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Who can I contact if I have other legal questions?
The Build it Back Program cannot provide you with legal advice. You should consult an attorney on your own.

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REBUILD PROGRAM

Why is the Build it Back Rebuild Program using a Developer model?

Rebuilding a new home with federal dollars in New York City requires a substantial amount of compliance and oversight. We have selected three development teams based on very competitive criteria who have strong track records of building quality and well-designed homes in New York City, and who understand the processes involved in receiving government funding. These development teams have pre-approved prototype designs ready for homeowners and can move through the review process quickly.

Borough Developer and Website
Phone Number Email
Staten Island
The Bluestone Organization
(718)264-1420x243 info@bluestonerrsi.com
Queens Arverne by the Sea LLC
(718)474-3917x13 abtsrebuild@gmail.com
Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan
Galaxy General Contracting Corp.
(718)246-8080x271 brooklynrebuilds@galaxygc.com

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Why does the Choose Your Own Contractor option have so many requirements?

The Rebuild Program requirements are the same for both the Choose Your Own Contractor option and the City-selected Developer option. These requirements include:

  1. All Rebuild projects must go through a review of the plans, budget, architect contract, and contractor who will be doing the construction.
  2. All Rebuild project contractors require certain due diligence guarantees, background checks, and insurance requirements to ensure construction completion and compliance with federal requirements.
  3. All Rebuild projects must meet federal Green Building requirements.

The Rebuild Program has dedicated staff available to assist homeowners interested in the Choose Your Own Contractor option, to answer questions, to discuss Rebuild Program requirements, and to help homeowners consider the City-selected Developer option versus the Choose Your Own Contractor option.

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Are all homes that are being rebuilt also being elevated?

Yes. All homes that are substantially damaged as defined by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) will be elevated by the Build it Back Program. This includes all homes being reconstructed under the Rebuild Program.

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Can I build a larger home than what I had prior to Hurricane Sandy?

The Rebuild Program will provide enough funds to assist you to rebuild what you had prior to Hurricane Sandy.  This will be determined based on a site inspection and checks with City records.  If you wish to build a larger home, then the additional cost of the larger home will need to be paid for by you with out-of-pocket funds.

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How does Build it Back determine the pre-storm size of my home if it was demolished or destroyed?

For homes that were demolished or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Build it Back will use City records to determine the size of the pre-storm home. This includes records from the Department of Finance, pre-demolition information (if the demolition was conducted by the City), and other city records. Build it Back will use these records to best determine the pre-storm home size. Build it Back will only rebuild legally habitable spaces that meet code requirements, including light, air and ventilation requirements. Please note that the rebuilt home must comply with all zoning requirements, building codes and land use requirements.

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REIMBURSEMENT

What is the Build it Back Reimbursement Program?
The Build it Back Reimbursement Program may provide partial reimbursement assistance to eligible homeowners. Homeowners must have completed eligible Hurricane Sandy-related repair work with personal resources, subject to restrictions in line with applicable laws, regulations, and the Build it Back Program requirements.

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Who is eligible for the Reimbursement Program?

In order to be eligible for the Build it Back Reimbursement Program, you must meet the following minimum criteria:

  • You must be verified as a low-to-moderate income homeowner (<80% of Area Median Income) and a primary resident at the property.
  • Your property must meet the definition of a low-to-moderate income 1-4 unit property.
  • You must have a completed both a Declaration of Sandy Expenses form (F13) and a Coordination of Benefits (COB) worksheet that confirms your benefits and F13 expenses.
  • Your application and COB worksheet must provide evidence of out-of-pocket repair expenses incurred prior to your damage assessment OR October 29, 2013, whichever came first, in excess of verified disaster recovery benefits already received from FEMA, SBA, private insurance, and other sources.
  • Your property must meet requirements of any prior federal assistance that required National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coverage.

Please note:

  • Homeowners in the NYS Acquisition for Redevelopment Program or NYS Buyout Program are not eligible.
  • Reimbursement is not currently available to homeowners whose homes are determined to be substantially damaged and in need of a rebuild or repair with elevation.

In order to be eligible for reimbursement only (without repairs):

  1. You must meet the above minimum criteria.
  2. Your home must meet the Build it Back Program's Decent, Safe, and Sanitary (DSS) standard, or you must agree to remedy any deficiency needed to make the home DSS.
  3. Any construction permits opened after Hurricane Sandy must be closed.
  4. The property must meet standards protecting occupants from lead hazards.

Decent, Safe, and Sanitary standards include, but are not limited to:

  • The property meets applicable housing and occupancy standards.
  • The property is structurally sound, weather tight, and in good repair.
  • The property contains safe, adequate electrical wiring systems.
  • The property has heating as required by climatic conditions.

In order to be eligible for reimbursement AND repair:

  1. You must meet the above minimum criteria.
  2. Your remaining repairs must be over $5,000.

In cases where a home does NOT pass the DSS standards and remaining repairs are less than $5,000, the repairs required for DSS compliance must be completed by the homeowner – in line with Build it Back Repair Program guidelines – in order to receive a reimbursement amount.

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For applicants that are eligible for the Build it Back Reimbursement Program, how is the reimbursement amount determined?
The Build it Back Program can only reimburse applicants for repair expenses incurred prior to October 29, 2013 or your damage assessment, whichever came earlier. You will have to sign a form certifying that the reimbursement amount that you are receiving (or a self-certified portion) is for repair expenses incurred prior to October 29, 2013.

Eligible applicants will be provided with a worksheet that shows how their reimbursement amount is calculated. The steps for calculating the reimbursement amount include:

  1. The Build it Back Program adds together the value of your completed repairs and other allowable disaster-related expenditures.
  2. The Build it Back Program subtracts the value of all total disaster recovery benefits you have already received. This amount is your total out-of-pocket expense.
  3. Your Maximum Reimbursement Amount is the total of all reimbursable expenses up to your total out-of-pocket expense amount. This is because some out-of-pocket expenses are not reimbursable under US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules.
  4. The Build it Back Program will reimburse eligible applicants at a rate of 60% of the Maximum Reimbursement Amount. This means that your Maximum Reimbursement Amount, will be multiplied by 0.60 (or 60 percent) to determine a final Actual Reimbursement Amount.
  5. The calculated Actual Reimbursement Amount is the amount that the Build it Back Program will reimburse you if you agree to all of the requirements listed in the Reimbursement Grant Agreement.

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I have been told that I am eligible for additional repair work, but I only want reimbursement for the repairs I completed on my own. Is this an option?
If, upon a review of your damage assessment inspection, your home has been repaired to the Build it Back Program's Decent, Safe, and Sanitary (DSS) standard, the Build it Back Program can provide a reimbursement amount. If your home has DSS repair work still to be performed, you must agree to have this work completed in line with the Build it Back Repair Program guidelines in order for you to be reimbursed. These repairs will not be included in your reimbursement amount but may be covered in Build it Back Program repair assistance.

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Based on the Build it Back Program requirements, I am eligible for reimbursement but my home needs more repairs. Can I receive both reimbursement and assistance for the repair of my home?
Yes.  If you meet all other eligibility requirements, the need for additional repairs alone will not prevent you from receiving reimbursement. However, reimbursement is NOT currently available to homeowners that are determined to be substantially damaged and in need of a rebuild or repair with elevation.

If you still need additional repairs, the reimbursement amount can be issued once you sign a grant agreement and any remaining Decent, Safe, and Sanitary (DSS) standard-required repairs are cleared by the Build it Back Program.

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Based on the Build it Back Program rules, I am eligible for reimbursement. I have been told that the inspection of my home showed that I have a lead hazard. Am I still eligible for reimbursement?
The Build it Back Program can only provide you with a reimbursement amount if your home meets the Build it Back Program Decent, Safe, and Sanitary (DSS) standard. A home cannot meet this standard if it contains a lead hazard.  The Build it Back Program will let you know if there is a hazard and will provide additional assistance to clear the lead hazard before a reimbursement amount can be issued. Please note that the lead hazard cannot be cleared by a homeowner.

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How do I get my reimbursement amount?
You should receive your reimbursement amount from the NYC Department of Finance. You will be provided information on receiving payment at the time of your Reimbursement Grant Agreement signing.

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What are the requirements of a Reimbursement Grant Agreement
The basic Reimbursement Grant Agreement terms include, but are not limited to:

  • The homeowner will obtain flood insurance for the property upon project completion, as required by the Flood Disaster Act of 1973.
  • The Agreement has a one-year term, is not a lien on title and does not require payments.
  • If requested by the City during the one-year term, the homeowner shall provide documentation of household income for all occupied dwelling units within 14 days.
  • During the one-year term, the homeowner shall not sell or otherwise transfer any ownership interest in the property without written permission of the City.

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Is the Reimbursement Grant Agreement separate from a Build it Back Repair Grant Agreement?
Yes.  If the Build it Back Program continues making necessary repairs to your home, in addition to signing a Reimbursement Grant Agreement, you will also execute a separate agreement for the Build it Back Repair Program funds supporting construction work necessary to complete these repairs.
If you are a candidate to receive reimbursement alone, you will only execute a Reimbursement Grant Agreement.

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Are reimbursement payments from Build it Back taxable?
As a general rule, reimbursement payments from Build it Back are not subject to federal income taxation for individuals.

According to the IRS, "qualified disaster relief payments are not included in the income of individuals to the extent any expenses compensated by these payments are not otherwise compensated for by insurance or other reimbursement."  Qualified disaster relief payments include amounts paid to you by a federal, state, or local government in connection with a presidentially declared disaster, such as Sandy. Build it Back reimbursement amounts are paid to you by the City of New York using federal disaster recovery funds.

For more information on this topic or if you have additional questions, please visit www.irs.gov or seek the advice of a tax professional.

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REIMBURSEMENT GRANT AGREEMENT

What is the Reimbursement Grant Agreement?
The Reimbursement Grant and Subrogation Agreement contains the terms of the Build Back Program's grant for the reimbursement of limited eligible expenses you incurred due to Hurricane Sandy damage to your home. The Grant Agreement is between the owner(s) (applicants and co-applicants) and the New York City Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery Operations.

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Who signs the Reimbursement Grant Agreement?
All owners listed on the deed to your property (applicants and co-applicants) must sign the Reimbursement Grant Agreement before a notary public unless one or more of the owners have granted authority to someone else to sign on their behalf by completing the Program's Power of Attorney form. Please remember to bring proper identification to present to the notary public.

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When is the Reimbursement Grant Agreement signed?
The Reimbursement Grant Agreement is signed after the applicant signs the Coordination of Benefits Worksheet (COB), Reimbursement Certification of Decent, Safe and Sanitary Condition form (F17), and the Reimbursement Worksheet. The F17 is a self-certification form that the home meets the Build it Back Program's Decent, Safe, and Sanitary (DSS) standards.

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What is the term of the Reimbursement Grant Agreement?
The ownership requirement reflected in the Reimbursement Grant Agreement begins the date that the Grant Agreement is signed by the owner(s) and ends one year from the date of Grant Agreement signing. 

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What are the basic requirements of the Reimbursement Grant Agreement?
The basic Reimbursement Grant Agreement includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements:

  • The owner may not sell or transfer the property for one year after the date the Grant Agreement is signed unless the owner receives approval from the Build it Back Program.
  • Pursuant to federal law, if the property is located within a floodplain or Special Flood Hazard Area, the owner must maintain flood insurance in an amount equal to the lesser of the grant amount or to the maximum limit of coverage which the homeowner can obtain.  The homeowner must obtain the coverage within thirty (30) days of the execution of the grant agreement or, if the Program is performing repairs, the date that all repairs are completed.

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What is the restriction on the sale of the property during the term of the Reimbursement Grant Agreement?
The owner may not sell or convey ownership of the property during the term of the Reimbursement Grant Agreement without written permission of the City.  If the property is sold or conveyed during the term of the Grant Agreement without permission of the City, the owner will be liable to repay the City a portion of the grant amount. The owner may transfer the property to another owner or a family member, but they will be bound by the terms of the Grant Agreement.

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Is the assistance from the Build it Back Program in the form of a grant or a mortgage? Is there a lien?
This is a grant and not a mortgage or lien.  The terms of the Reimbursement Grant Agreement are contractually binding to both parties. There is not an expectation that this grant will be paid back by the recipient if all terms of the Grant Agreement are fulfilled.

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Can my home be foreclosed by the City if I default on the terms of the Reimbursement Grant Agreement?
No. The Reimbursement Grant Agreement is not a lien or a mortgage.

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Do I have to make any payments on the grant?
No. The Reimbursement Grant Agreement is not a lien or a mortgage and there are no payments required. Grants are forgivable once all terms of the Grant Agreement are fulfilled. You will only be required to repay grant funds if you do not fulfill the terms of the Grant Agreement. An example of this would be if you sold your home during the one-year homeownership requirement without permission from the Build it Back Program.

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Are there other insurance requirements and when do they apply?
The Reimbursement Grant Agreement only requires the purchase of flood insurance if the structure is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area or floodplain. If you have a mortgage, your lender may require additional insurance such as fire or liability.

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Who can I contact if I have other legal questions?
The Build it Back Program cannot provide you with legal advice. You should consult an attorney on your own.

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ACQUISITIONS AND BUYOUTS

What is the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment Program and how does it work?
The NYC Build it Back Program is working with New York State to administer and fund the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment Program (NYSAfR). This Program is designed to offer owners of Sandy-affected properties the opportunity to sell their property to New York State. If an applicant is deemed eligible as part of NYC Build it Back's preliminary eligibility assessment, and the applicant elects to pursue the NYSAfR option, their file will be referred to a representative at the State working with NYSAfR. New York State will do an additional review and, if they determine that the applicant is eligible, the State will provide the applicant with an acquisition offer.

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What is the difference between a buyout and an acquisition for redevelopment?
A buyout is New York State's program to purchase property that must remain undeveloped in perpetuity. An acquisition for redevelopment is when the government purchases a property that can then be redeveloped or sold to be redeveloped. New York State has announced it will be doing buyouts of Sandy damaged properties, but at this point only properties in Oakwood Beach and Ocean Breeze on Staten Island are included in the State's program. New York State in partnership with the New York City will be doing acquisitions as part of the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment Program (NYSAfR) on a limited scale.

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What are the eligibility criteria for the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment Program?

An NYC Build it Back applicant may be eligible for the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment Program (NYSAfR) option if they have or had a one or two-family home AND:

  • Their home was completely destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

OR

  • After a thorough inspection and cost estimate, NYC Build it Back determined that the property is "Substantially Damaged." This means that the damage is at least 50% of the value of the building structure.

In addition, only structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) which serve as an applicant's primary residence are eligible to be referred to NYSAfR. This Program is not currently available to owners of cooperative or condominium units, nor to applicants who have already received NYC Build it Back Program funds for reimbursement or improvements.

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What are the criteria for eligibility for a buyout?
Buyouts are covered under New York State's Recreate NY Home Buyout Program. Specific eligibility criteria for buyouts and enhanced buyouts are outlined in the NYS CDBG-DR Action Plan (page 40-41). More information on the Recreate NY Smart Home Program is available here. The State is moving forward with buyouts in Oakwood Beach and Ocean Breeze on Staten Island and has not announced other plans at this time.

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What price will New York State offer to acquire my property?
After the City finds an applicant preliminarily eligible, and the applicant indicates interest in the NYSAfR program, the State will review the application. Following a successful review of the application by New York State, an offer will be sent to the homeowner to begin the process of buying the property.

The offer amount will be determined by New York State, but will generally be comprised of two elements:

1. Current Property Value: An amount offered for the current value of your property. The current property value is determined by a post-storm appraisal.

2. Relocation Benefit Amount: An amount approximately equal to the difference between the pre-storm value of the property and the current property value. The pre-storm value is determined by an appraisal.

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Are empty lots that were empty at the time of Hurricane Sandy eligible for acquisition?
Almost never. You can discuss your options, based on your specific circumstances, with a Housing Recovery Specialist or call NYC Build it Back's Customer Service Line at 212-615-8329.

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How do mortgages impact  applicants interested in the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment program?
Although each situation may be unique, all applicants eligible for acquisition will be given the opportunity to work with a financial counselor to assess the New York State Acquisition for Redevelopment Program (NYSAfR) option. This will allow applicants to understand how participating in the Program may be affected by their existing financial situation, including how their mortgage may factor into the transaction. In general, it is necessary for any liens on the property to be satisfied as part of the acquisition in order for the acquisition to be able to occur.

For homeowners in foreclosure, the NYC Build it Back Program may offer some financial and legal counseling to assess and support potential sustainable housing solutions. This is relevant for applicants pursuing any of the available pathways.

 

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MULTI-FAMILY PROGRAM

What is the Build it Back Multi-Family Repair Program?
The Build it Back Multi-Family Repair program provides forgivable loans or grants for repairs, reimbursements and resiliency improvements to buildings with five or more units. Eligible properties include rental buildings, condominiums and co-operatives that sustained damage due to Hurricane Sandy. The Program will offer evaporating loans with zero payments and zero interest to cover the cost of improvements that will repair damage from the storm and improve the resilience of residential buildings to future storms. Loans will evaporate at the end of five-to-fifteen-year terms and no repayment will be required unless the property is sold or refinanced during the loan term. Assistance will be provided in the form of a grant to owners of individual condominium and co-operative units located in buildings with five or more units.

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Who is eligible for the Multi-Family Program?
All multi-family property owners, individual condominium or co-op owners, and condo or co-op associations whose buildings contain five or more units and suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy should apply. Damaged buildings with fewer than five units will be addressed by the Build it Back Single Family Program. Owners who received assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), private insurance, the Small Business Administration (SBA) or any other Sandy-related support may still be eligible.

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Who will administer the loans for the Multi-Family Program?
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is administering the Multi-Family Program and directly issuing loans for properties that have one hundred units or more. The New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC) will issue loans and grants on behalf of HPD to certain large scale affordable developments. For properties that consist of five to ninety-nine units, the Community Preservation Corporation (CPC), Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Enterprise Community Partners will issue loans and grants on behalf of HPD.

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What is the process for prioritizing applicants in the Multi-Family Program?
The Multi-Family Program prioritizes work in multi-family buildings based primarily on the income of building residents. Generally, the first households that will receive repairs and reimbursements are in buildings that are housing the lowest income tenants.

While owners of all economic backgrounds whose properties sustained damage are eligible for assistance, federal guidelines require that the City spend at least half of its funds to assist low-to-moderate income (LMI) households. LMI means that the household earns less than 80% of Area Median Income (AMI). Federal regulations prohibit the Build it Back Program from funding repairs or reimbursements for work that has already been paid for by insurance proceeds or federal aid. 

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What is the Multi-Family Program's Resident Income Certification Process?
In accordance with federal policy, the Multi-Family Program prioritization for work is primarily based on the income levels of the residents of affected buildings.  Buildings in which a majority of residents earn less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) as of 2013 are first priority, followed by buildings with residents earning between 80 and 165% of AMI. Buildings with residents earning above 165% of AMI are eligible, but behind the other income levels in terms of priority for repair work. For more information on income levels go here.

The income levels of an affected building's residents are initially projected using existing City data, and then certified based on certification forms through the Program.

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How are contractors selected to do the repair work for the Multi-Family Program?
Applicants generally will be required to use a bidding process to select contractors to do the repair work to the damaged buildings and units. The contractors invited to bid must be qualified to do federally funded work on multi-family building in New York City. To help ensure that the contractor chosen is qualified, the Multi-Family Program is establishing a list of qualified contractors, based on qualifications submitted through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. It is possible for an owner/board to select a contractor that is not on this list, but the contractor must meet the qualifications specified in the RFQ. Additional information can be found here.

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How are Multi-Family Program contractors paid?
For the repair work done under the Multi-Family Program, the contractors are paid on a monthly or bi-monthly basis for work completed during that time period. The preferred method of payment is a two-party check, signed and approved by both the Multi-Family Program and the affected building owner, association or board. At the closing for the forgivable mortgage, contractors and building owners may be paid for soft costs. 

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What are the steps in the process? When does the damage assessment happen for Multi-Family Program applicants?
Applicants will be contacted by the Multi-Family Program to complete an application over the phone. Following the application completion and submission of the initial income verification information, such as the rent roll or income certifications, the property will be initially prioritized based on this income information and the reported level of damage. Owners will be contacted based on their priority category by the Multi-Family Program to schedule the damage assessment.

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How do Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI) Calculations work in the Multi-Family Program?
For a building to be considered Priority 1, the Multi-Family Program must show that over 50% of the households at the property where the project is located are low-to-moderate income (LMI). 

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Are reimbursements part of the Multi-Family Program?
The Multi-Family Program may reimburse building owners, associations or boards who used out of pocket funds to repair Hurricane Sandy damage to their buildings if the Program determines that the repairs and the costs associated with these repairs are both reasonable and necessary. Applicants must meet eligibility and other Program requirements before being considered for reimbursement.

 

The Program will only reimburse for costs that were not already covered by insurance, FEMA, or other forms of assistance. The amount an owner may be eligible to be reimbursed for is based on information collected through the damage assessment on the property, as well as invoices for temporary repairs that are eligible under the Program. Reimbursement for eligible applicants will occur at the project closing.

Please note: Reimbursements are limited to repairs completed or contracts signed prior to October 29, 2013, the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

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TDAP / RENTERS PROGRAM

What is the Temporary Disaster Assistance Program?
The Temporary Disaster Assistance Program (TDAP) offers temporary rental subsidies and housing referral assistance to New York City's low-income renters who remain displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The type of assistance offered depends on household income. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is administering TDAP.
Please visit the Renters page  for more information.

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Who is eligible for TDAP?
Initial income eligibility is determined through the central Build it Back 311 intake process. Income and other eligibility factors are further reviewed and confirmed by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

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How do I find out if I am eligible for TDAP?
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will determine whether you are eligible for the TDAP rental subsidy program, housing referral services, or neither. TDAP representatives have called every registrant, using the contact information provided at registration.

If your contact information has changed and you have not notified the Program, please call 212-615-8329.

TDAP applicants will be scheduled for an application workshop and further instructions will be provided. Housing referral registrants will be called for an interview with a housing placement coordinator.

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Once an applicant is eligible for TDAP, what happens?
The eligible applicants attend a TDAP Briefing at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) where they receive a TDAP coupon and Landlord Package, which they will use to search for an apartment. Applicants have 120 days in which to complete their search and return a completed Landlord Package.

 

Next, HPD inspects the proposed apartment to assess its safety and reviews the proposed rent to ensure that it does not exceed rents for comparable units. HPD then executes a Rental Assistance Contract with the landlord. The landlord executes a lease with the tenant, and the tenant moves into the subsidized unit.

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How much subsidy does TDAP provide?
The TDAP subsidy is paid directly to the landlord and covers the difference between 30% of the renter's monthly household income and the approved contract rent, up to 110% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR). The exact subsidy is determined at the time of admission into TDAP, after household income has been documented and contract rent has been approved. If household income changes during the subsidy period, the household may request an interim income recertification, and the subsidy will be adjusted accordingly. Subsidy is provided for a maximum of two (2) years unless there is a duplication of benefits at which point the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will review.

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How many households does TDAP expect to serve?
The number of households served will depend on the total cost of the subsidies provided to families, which vary according to rent levels and household incomes, and the overall TDAP budget. Our initial estimates, based on average subsidy amounts in similar programs, predict that we can reach up to 600 families; however, this is subject to change.

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What services are available through the housing referral program?
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is using its network of housing developers to identify vacancies in affordable apartments that Sandy victims may qualify for. An HPD housing placement coordinator will provide the registrant with apartment listings and contact information for apartment owners and managing agents. HPD does not get involved in the interview or application process, and cannot provide help with fees, deposits, or moving expenses. The majority of units in our network are in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan.

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I am renter displaced from my Sandy-destroyed/damaged rental property. I have housing now and hold a lease, will I still be eligible for any rental assistance through the Build it Back program?
If you currently hold a lease, you will not be eligible for any rental assistance through the Build it Back Program at this time. Build It Back has requested federal approve to expand eligibility to registrants who meet this criteria and once approved, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) will reach out to you directly to determine eligibility.

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REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

What is the Build it Back Program's reasonable accommodation policy?

The Build it Back Program is required by federal, state and local laws to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants who have a present medical condition that is either permanent or chronic. Reasonable accommodations are provided by the Program on a case-by-case basis.

Reasonable accommodations may be provided where an applicant is seeking access to Program staff, facilities, or services. In those instances, accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sign language interpreters
  • Assistance with reading and completing forms
  • Conducting business by telephone, fax or mail, if appropriate
  • Home visits, if necessary

Additionally, reasonable accommodations may be provided as construction modifications, where an applicant requires special construction changes to standard Program offerings in order to facilitate access to and within the home. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Lever handles at all doors
  • ADA-compliant appliances (where produced)
  • ADA-compliant handles for all plumbing fixtures
  • Choice of comfort height or standard height toilet
  • Installation of grab bars or wall reinforcement
  • Modified kitchen cabinets
  • Modified height electrical outlets
  • Redesign existing space to accommodate special needs
  • Widened doorways
  • Roll-in showers
  • Low threshold construction
  • Ramp or lift

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How will I know if I am eligible for a reasonable accommodation?

If you are an applicant who requires access to Program staff, facilities, or events, then you are eligible for assistance without filing a formal request. The Program will make every effort to assist applicants as needed without a verbal request. However, applicants that require access accommodations only need to ask the nearest Program staff member.

If you require accommodations in the design and construction of your home, then you must submit a completed Reasonable Accommodation Request that is signed by a licensed medical provider who attests that your medical conditions are present and either permanent or chronic.  You may find a copy of the form here.

If you are not able to have your medical provider complete the Reasonable Accommodation Request, then you may also submit a signed and completed HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) form, included in the linked PDF above, so the Program can contact your physician to confirm your accommodation request.

After receipt of the Reasonable Accommodation Request form signed by a licensed medical provider or the completed HIPPA form, the Program's legal department will review the request to determine if it is reasonable based on a present and either permanent or chronic condition. If the Program is able to provide accommodations based on the request, then the Program's legal department will notify applicants of the decision. Applicants should keep this letter to share with the architects and engineers during design consultation.

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What if I don't need a reasonable accommodation but a member of my household does?

If a member of your household requires construction accommodations due to a present and either permanent or chronic condition, then you must submit a Reasonable Accommodation Request for the household member in order to receive the construction modification.

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How can I find out more information about my specific medical needs and what sorts of accommodations I should request?

If you need more information regarding what reasonable accommodations may be helpful, please speak with your medical provider.  

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How long does it take for Build it Back to approve or reject my request for reasonable accommodations?

The completed determination will be mailed to you within fifteen (15) calendar days of the receipt of a completed Reasonable Accommodation Request.

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Will Build it Back protect my privacy?

The Build it Back Program is dedicated to protecting all personal and sensitive information collected about applicants. As a result, the Program has a robust process for safeguarding, disseminating, and decontrolling all Program information. The Program will never provide your information to a third party without "a need to know" that is directly related to Program benefits or without your prior consent.

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