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Mayor Bloomberg Announces Nyc Build It Back Program To Help New Yorkers With Homes Damaged By Hurricane Sandy Recover And Rebuild

June 3, 2013

Using Federal Aid, NYC Build it Back Addresses Housing Needs for Affected Residents

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations Brad Gair and Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua today announced NYC Build it Back, a new City program to assist homeowners, landlords and tenants in the five boroughs whose homes were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. In the days following the storm, the City led one of the fastest disaster recovery efforts ever seen, helping more than 20,000 families return to their homes through the Rapid Repairs program, and that work continues today. As the City shifts its focus to long-term rebuilding, NYC Build it Back is designed to make the newly available Federal aid simple and understandable, and the program will provide assistance – including grants and loans – to New Yorkers still recovering from the storm. New York City residents can begin registering for the program by calling 311 or visiting NYC Build it Back provides multiple pathways to help affected residents return to more sustainable housing and recover out-of-pocket costs resulting from the storm. Beginning next month, registrants will be contacted by a Housing Recovery Specialist who will help them review their options and guide them through each step of the process. The Mayor made the announcement in the Blue Room at City Hall, where he was joined by Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Congressman Michael Grimm and Council Members Vincent Ignizio, Deborah Rose, James Oddo, Domenic Recchia, Jr. and Donovan Richards.

“Hurricane Sandy was the worst storm ever to hit New York City – and today, we are launching a new program to continue the road to recovery,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through NYC Build it Back, we are making our Federal aid package simple and understandable, and tailoring assistance to the specific needs of the families and businesses most impacted by Sandy. Whether it’s personal assistance in the rebuilding process or reimbursements for completed repairs, this program will provide a new infusion of support to help families, neighborhoods and businesses come back stronger and more resilient than ever before.”

“NYC Build it Back is the next step in our Administration’s comprehensive approach to recovery,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “Thanks to the efforts of HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and his team, and the support of the entire New York Congressional delegation, NYC Build It Back is launching in record time, and will build on the success of Rapid Repairs and other groundbreaking efforts that have made New York City’s recovery among the fastest ever from a major natural disaster.”

The Bloomberg Administration has been committed to getting New Yorkers back in their homes since Day 1 after the storm – led by the Rapid Repairs initiative which helped tens of thousands of homeowners and tenants, said Deputy Mayor Steel. “NYC Build it Back is the latest evidence of the Mayor's commitment, with the support of the Federal government, to finishing the hard work of recovery.

NYC Build it Back provides four pathways to help New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy return to sustainable homes:

  • Repair: A NYC Build it Back professional contractor can help eligible participants whose homes require minor to moderate repairs. Registrants also have the option of selecting their own contractor within Federal and program guidelines.

  • Rebuild: If a home is substantially damaged and needs to be rebuilt, qualifying participants can choose a home model that is designed specifically for their community, uses the best available resiliency standards and is designed by a NYC Build it Back developer. Alternatively, registrants can choose their own architect and contractor to develop and build their homes within Federal and program guidelines.

  • Reimbursement: The City can also help participants recover eligible out-of-pocket costs for minor repairs already made to their homes that satisfy all Department of Housing and Urban Development and other requirements.

  • Acquisition: Some owners may want to voluntarily sell their homes and in some cases, the City will be able to work with communities to strategically redevelop these properties in a smarter, more resilient way. Housing Recovery Specialists will be able to explain these options.

“NYC Build it Back is more than a set of flexible housing solutions for residents whose homes were impacted by Hurricane Sandy – it is a commitment to every individual who applies that we will work with you until you have a safe, sustainable housing solution,” said Brad Gair, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.

“Our job is to ensure that homeowners who want to assistance in rebuilding their homes can get it, and that we work with the community to make the process sensible and responsive to the needs of the individual and the neighborhood,” said Commissioner Wambua. “We are pleased to offer the benefit of our experience, as well as the financial assistance that is necessary to reknit the fabric of the coastal areas that have been so badly hurt. We will do this with an eye toward the future of our City and with the goal of building safe, sustainable, storm resistant homes.”

NYC Build it Back complements the assistance already provided by FEMA, private insurance claims and other sources. Homeowners, landlords and cooperative and condominium owners with primary residences in the five boroughs are encouraged to apply to find out how they may be eligible for the program. Professionals will assess the damage of homes in the program to determine the costs of repairs or rebuilding, including elevating homes when necessary. Assistance will also be made available to qualifying renters who participate in the program.

“The NYC Build it Back Program will streamline the often-complex grant and loans process for New Yorkers affected by Superstorm,” said United States Senator Charles E. Schumer. “I fought hard to make sure that the Sandy Relief Bill included the federal resources that New Yorkers need to get their lives back to normal after the storm and this program will make sure that those in-need receive the aid they are eligible for. Thank you to Mayor Bloomberg, the NYC Economic Development Council and Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations for implementing this simple and easy to understand program that will help New Yorkers and personally guide them throughout the recovery process.”

“The launch of NYC Build It Back will get critical aid to New Yorkers in need and is another important milestone in the recovery process, said United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “While a great deal of work still lies ahead, this vital housing recovery program will help those impacted by Sandy rebuild stronger, more sustainable homes and communities and put New York City further along on the road to resiliency.”

“Bravo to Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Holloway, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Steel and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations Gair for today's announcement of the Build it Back program,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, too many homeowners, landlords and tenants are still struggling to rebuild homes and businesses. With NYC Build it Back providing alternative solutions to affected residents and guiding them through the process, this is another much needed initiative to help ensure that all Brooklynites and New Yorkers continue to rebuild, rebound and recover.”

“This is good news for the victims of Sandy and my office is ready to help and cooperate with the City of New York to expedite the plans put forward by the Mayor of the City of New York,” said Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro.

This is welcomed news to homeowners still struggling to rebuild their homes more than seven months after Hurricane Sandy,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. I thank the Mayor for his continued efforts that build on the recovery programs already in place. This effort will help homeowners, landlords and tenants whose lives and properties have been disrupted by the storm that still leaves its mark on our communities.”

“I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues of the New York State Congressional Delegation and Mayor Michael Bloomberg who have all worked tirelessly to ensure that the NYC Build It Back Program would come to fruition,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “This program is the result of tireless efforts, advocacy and collaboration to bring the urgently needed resources required to support the rebuilding of our communities. Far too many families are still struggling to regain their lives and start anew in healthy, wholesome neighborhoods that we can all take pride in.”

“Launching NYC Build it Back is a key step to moving forward with New York City’s recovery from the worst storm ever to ravage our coastlines,” said Congressman Michael Grimm. “This crucial program will help meet the unique recovery needs of Staten Islanders, by moving federal funds into the hands of those impacted by Sandy, so that we can rebuild stronger and better than ever before.”

“Unfortunately, thousands of New Yorkers are still feeling the devastating effects of being left without a home to return to in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, nearly eight months after the storm,” said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. “The NYC Build it Back program provides real, tangible solutions to affected families by offering them options for sustainable housing, a move that will help the members of our community who are still struggling to rebuild.”

“Another hurricane season may be beginning, but we can’t forget that many New Yorkers are still struggling to rebuild seven months after Sandy,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “Build it Back will be a vital resource for New Yorkers in Lower Manhattan and across our city, allowing homeowners, tenants, and property owners to fully understand their options and find a path forward. And we must continue to find creative ways to support those impacted so that residents and businesses can rebuild and again thrive. Thank you to the City, our partners in the federal government, and all those working as we recover from Sandy.”

“I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg for working with us from the moments after the storm to this announcement, which shows that he is understanding of our needs,” said State Senator Andrew Lanza said. “I applaud him and his administration for compiling a program that will provide much needed assistance to those still struggling to put their lives back together as a result of the effects of Sandy. NYC Build it Back will establish real opportunities to return home and will dedicate resources to those who cannot return home. I advise all Staten Islanders still struggling with the cost of rebuilding to visit or call 311 to sign up today."

“More than seven months later, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his administration continue to work each and every day to guarantee that New York City recovers fully from Sandy,” said State Senator Martin Golden. “The program announced today will surely be of great assistance to the residents of my district, specifically in the neighborhoods of Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay. I join the Mayor in his commitment to all those impacted, so to continue to assist them every step of the way, to get their lives and homes back to normal.”

Seven months after Superstorm Sandy my constituents are still rebuilding their homes, businesses and lives,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. “I am grateful to the Mayor's Administration for providing additional assistance and guidance towards the full recovery of those in need.

“Today begins the next chapter of our long road to recovery,” said Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis. “I encourage all Sandy survivors to explore this program as soon and as thoroughly as possible to see what options are available. My office will continue to work closely with both constituents and the Mayor's Office if Housing Recovery to make this process run as smoothly as possible and get residents back in their homes.”

“For Staten Island homeowners, landlords, and tenants affected by Sandy a program like the one designed by the City is essential,” said Assembly Member Michael Cusick. “It will provide the direction necessary for Staten Islanders to complete their homes with the City's guidance. I commend the Mayor for providing much needed help to homeowners affected by Sandy.”

“This program is one step further on the long road to recovery,” said Assembly Member Matthew Titone. “Those affected by Sandy need every resource possible at this difficult time to help get them back on their feet, back in their homes, and back to a sense of normalcy in their lives.”

“After the storm, thousands of families across Southern Queens and Rockaway dipped into their savings or used credit cards to cover the costs of expenses to rebuild their homes and communities when insurance and FEMA checks weren't enough,” said Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder. “This new program will greatly benefit those who paid out of pocket to immediately repair their sandy-damaged property.”

“I am so pleased that the many meetings, calls, consultations and work with the Bloomberg Administration, much of which has been behind the scenes and out of the public's eye, has come to fruition and the process has begun for folks impacted by Sandy to begin to take back control of their lives,” said Council Member James Oddo. “This endeavor will allow Staten Islanders and New Yorkers to make educated, informed decisions. I am particularly pleased that this initiative will include a robust strategic acquisition for redevelopment component, one that I am particularly proud of, which had its roots in the trip Councilman Ignizio and I took to New Orleans in late January with representatives from the Bloomberg Administration. This acquisition plan provides my constituents with another option and a chance to see their home community transformed into a safer, more resilient, and overall more vibrant place.”

“Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for developing yet another innovative initiative to help New Yorkers recover from Hurricane Sandy,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich. “Like Rapid Repairs, this program will help defray the cost of rebuilding storm damaged properties. It is a smart use of federal disaster aid and will definitely have a big impact on our ability to be fully prepared for the next storm, should that ever occur.”

“NYC Build it Back will go a long way in addressing the needs of my community post-Sandy,” said Council Member Vincent Ignizio. “Many of my constituents will benefit from the programs that are being rolled out and I am appreciative to the Mayor’s office for coming with us to New Orleans and seeing first hand which programs worked and should be replicated and which did not. Many of these programs mirror the positive outcomes from New Orleans and some of our own ideas that we have worked on for the past several months. This team collaboration will serve our constituents well as we get them the help they need to build back a stronger Staten Island and all of New York City.”

“My district saw significant damage to homeowners,” said Council Member Deborah Rose. “The North Shore of Staten Island sustained substantial damage from Superstorm Sandy – massive power outages, hundreds of downed trees and power lines, and substantial flooding of homes and businesses.  With such damage, my district also had a number of displaced tenants.  So any program to provide additional assistance is especially appreciated, and I thank Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayors Holloway and Steel, and Director Gair for their hard work and leadership on this issue, and our homeowners and tenants thank you as well.”

“Seven months after Superstorm Sandy and too many New Yorkers are still struggling to return to normalcy,” said Council Member Domenic M. Recchia, Jr. “Many families are straining to balance the heavy financial burden of paying for repairs and upgrades to their homes while also paying their regular mortgage payments. Hundreds of other families remain displaced and in temporary housing. These New Yorkers need help and guidance through what continues to be a long recovery process, which is exactly what the Build It Back program will offer them. I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayors Holloway and Steel, and Director of Housing Recovery Operations Brad Gair for listening and recognizing the challenges facing Sandy-impacted New Yorkers and for spearheading this important program. I look forward to working with them to ensure that our communities are rebuilt quickly, but also safer and stronger than before.”

“I am grateful for any assistance the hard hit communities along the southern Brooklyn waterfront can get to rebuild and restore,” said Council Member Lew Fidler. “This program should give us hope for a vibrant future.”

“As homeowners continue to rebuild their lives post Superstorm Sandy, it is important that city is doing all it can to help them get back on their feet,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “This innovative new program Mayor Bloomberg is rolling out today is another step in the right direction in ensuring everyday New Yorkers who have endured so much can recover and ‘Build It Back’.”

NYC Build it Back is funded with approximately $648 million in Federal disaster recovery funds passed by Congress earlier this year, which included an initial $1.77 billion Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery allocation through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In order to address the highest need families first, the City will prioritize the limited initial funding based on the level of damage and financial need, using national objectives set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For more information or to register for the program, call 311 or visit

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