Frequently Asked Questions

Homeowner FAQ

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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.


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.


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.