May 23, 2016
The New York City Department of Design and Construction completed its first home elevation project in Staten Island. This achievement is part of Build it Back, New York City's federally funded program that rebuilds, repairs, and elevates homes affected by Hurricane Sandy. To celebrate, a ceremony was held at the home on Staten Island, where DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora and Amy Peterson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery, presented the keys to homeowner Michele Thornton-Mannix and her family.
To date, Build it Back has delivered a check or started construction on 74% of homes, starting 2,876 construction projects and completing 1,906. The partnership between DDC and Build it Back is the result of Mayor de Blasio’s overhaul of the program in 2014. By working with DDC, Build it Back was able to quadruple its design and construction capacity to help homeowners in Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. The initiative is a part of the broader OneNYC plan to create a stronger, more resilient New York City.
Ms. Thornton-Mannix, who moved back home with her 13-year-old son and her 2-year-old daughter, is the principal for District 75, P141K School (Brooklyn) for students with severe disabilities. “It’s unbelievable to be back in the house,” said Thornton-Mannix, a lifelong Staten Islander whose family history in the area stretches back a full century. “Once DDC got involved things really took off. The process was very clear, went smoothly and didn’t take very long at all. Initially I didn’t know how to feel, but now that we’re home it’s a pleasure.”
“DDC is proud to work with the Mayor’s Housing Recovery Office to build New Yorkers resilient homes in flood prone areas,” said DDC Commissioner Peña-Mora. “Superstorm Sandy was devastating to many communities and the DDC’s part in the ‘Build-It-Back’ initiative is to strengthen those neighborhoods through sustainable and smart home rehabilitations. We will be completing many more of these projects between now and the end of the year.”