Mayor Bill de Blasio late last week announced that the Build it Back single-family home program will be complete by the end of 2016, and that 100 percent of reimbursement checks have now been sent out to homeowners.
To date, there have been 2,015 construction starts (including 1,217 construction completions), as well as 5,319 reimbursement checks totaling nearly $104 million (representing all homeowners eligible for checks). In total, 63 percent of applicants have now seen a check or construction. Over 5,000 homes have entered design. All of these numbers are compared to zero in early 2014.
“Last year, we were fixing Build it Back – and now we’re finishing it, committing to completing the program and getting families home by the end of next year,” said de Blasio. “While there has been major progress since our overhaul – including 100 percent of reimbursement checks now out to homeowners – we won’t stop pushing forward until every applicant sees relief. Even as we work to get every family home, we are also aggressively moving to address the risks of climate change. We’re already safer today than we were three years ago, and we will continue to implement our comprehensive $20 billion resiliency plan across the five boroughs.”
Build it Back was overhauled last year when the City took over direct management of BIB centers, expanding eligibility and aggressively moving relief dollars to homeowners. In addition to the 9,300 applicants in its single family program, over 11,000 households have seen relief through the multi-family program.
As part of the program’s redesign, the Office of Housing Recovery and the Department of Small Business Services launched Sandy Recovery Workforce1, focused on connecting Sandy-impacted New Yorkers to jobs on Build it Back and other recovery and resiliency projects. To date, approximately 800 residents from Sandy-impacted neighborhoods have been hired. The City is also offering Sandy-impacted residents training opportunities for union construction jobs.
And the Hurricane Sandy Business Loan and Grant Program was revamped last year to focus on awarding grants, make guidelines more flexible, and increase disbursements. SBS has now awarded over $54 million in support to nearly 350 businesses across the city – marking a successful completion of the program.
Since the superstorm hit three years ago, short-term measures to strengthen coastal defenses and protect infrastructure – informed by the up-to-date climate science — have been put in place, including the addition of 4.2 million cubic yards of sand in Coney Island and on the Rockaway peninsula, 9.8 miles of dunes across the Rockaway peninsula and in Staten Island, 10,500 linear feet of bulkheads across the city, and 16 new improvements to the City’s building code to address new climate threats.
Large-scale infrastructure projects are also underway, such as a $335 million investment in the Lower East Side’s East Side Coastal Resiliency project, the restoration of 68 acres of degraded wetlands in Staten Island, $3 billion in investments toward 33 impacted developments in the City’s public housing stock, and $1.8 billion from FEMA toward Bellevue Hospital Center, Coney Island Hospital, Coler Rehabilitation and Nursing Care Center, and Metropolitan Hospital.
To view a video series highlighting progress on recovery and resiliency, visit http://on.nyc.gov/sandy.
By Forum Staff