Throughout the city, repair efforts from Superstorm Sandy have been slow, but with a recent overhaul in the Build It Back system many residents are finally seeing progress.
“What has made Build It Back work since the mayor’s overhaul is increased flexibility for homeowners, increased communication with homeowners and an increased presence by our staff in Sandy-impacted communities,” said Amy Peterson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery. “We have expanded our outreach to Queens, as we have to all affected neighborhoods, and have made over 2,800 offers to Queens residents.”
Throughout the city, there are 14,000 applicants in the Build It Back program.
In Queens, 2,800 offers have been made, 1,790 have been accepted and 652 homes are in the design phase as of Oct. 28. There have also been 247 construction starts with 54 completed and 356 checks offered totaling $7.3 million.
These numbers are promising, said state Sen. Joe Addabbo, but he added that recovery is nowhere near finished.
“The Build It Back system can’t work fast enough for my constituents,” Addabbo said. “I will continue to work with the program and help individuals recover. It is moving but we have a long way to go.”
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder also said that he is encouraged by the commitment to Sandy recovery and that it will remain a top priority until everyone who was displaced from the storm is back in their homes.
“As we approach the second anniversary of Sandy, many families are still not home and struggling to put their lives back together,” Goldfeder said. “No one is going away and we have a lot of work left to do but the city is committed to it.”
There are also some residents who have traveled down the long road of recovery and are finally seeing action.
“After Sandy, my house was red stickered [deemed as unlivable] and later demolished,” said Jayme Galimi, who has been a resident of Broad Channel for 22 years. “It’s been a long road since then but my new home is finally going to be constructed with the funding from Build It Back.”