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Sandy rebuilding from Build it Back exceeds one year expectation

THE COURIER/File photo

In the first year of Bill de Blasio’s term as mayor, he made major strides in the Superstorm Sandy rebuilding effort.

As the new year began, the de Blasio administration announced an overhaul of the Build it Back program, setting goals for the year that included issuing at least 1,500 reimbursement checks and generating 1,000 construction starts by the end of 2014.

Rebuilding officials now say they’ve more than met their goals for the year.

Last week, the Build It Back administration, led by director Amy Peterson, announced that there have been over 2,000 reimbursement checks distributed and about 1,004 construction starts.

Peterson credited the overhaul of the system for producing these results.

“Since Mayor de Blasio overhauled Build it Back, homeowners have seen increased flexibility, improved communication and — most importantly — real results. The progress over the last year has been dramatic, with offers being made to the vast majority of homeowners and thousands now in construction or receiving reimbursement — compared to none on Jan. 1, 2014,” she said. “In 2015, we’re going to build on that progress by dramatically expanding design and construction capacity to ensure that every homeowner gets the relief they need.”

The number of checks issued and construction starts were both at zero when the mayor first made his way into office.

In Queens, a total of 724 reimbursement checks were given out, totaling about $15 million, and there were over 330 construction starts. These numbers were also at zero when 2014 began.

“We’ve made a lot of progress with Build it Back over the past eight to nine months, and I credit much of the improvements to Amy Peterson, the director of the program,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, whose district has the highest amount of Build it Back applications in Queens. “But there are still many families in need and I will continue to urge City Hall to make sure they keep every family in mind.”

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