PHOTO: Mayor de Blasio and Amy Peterson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery. Photo by Michael V. Cusenza
By Forum Staff
The Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery on Tuesday announced the procurement for new Temporary Housing Service providers for Build it Back applicants needing to relocate during construction.
The new providers, which will be fully funded by the City through existing U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, will allow the program to continue to accelerate construction towards the goal of completing and closing out BIB by the end of 2016.
In addition, HRO is calling on landlords throughout Superstorm Sandy-impacted communities to offer available apartments for Build it Back applicants to temporarily rent.
“As we move forward towards the Mayor’s goal of completing Build it Back by the end of the year, we are taking unprecedented steps to assist homeowners needing to relocate due to construction,” said HRO Director Amy Peterson. “Building on the pilot program we launched with the Mayor’s Fund and [New York Disaster Interfaith Services] this past year, we will be vastly expanding our resources to help homeowners find temporary apartments and to help them with all aspects of the move-out process. Additionally, we are looking to partner with landlords in the community who can offer temporary leases. As we reflect on our New Year’s resolutions, we are calling on New Yorkers to make a renewed commitment to helping their Sandy-impacted neighbors.”
According to HRO, these new initiatives, supported by HUD, build off programs put in place in the past year as part of de Blasio’s “broader Sandy recovery overhaul,” including:
Build it Back Temporary Relocation Assistance Program: In April of 2014, the City dedicated funding for a Temporary Relocation Assistance program which covers rental expenses for homeowners displaced during construction. To date, more than 200 claims have been made.
Sandy Temporary Rental Program: In June, Build it Back, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and NYDIS launched the one-year, privately-funded Sandy Temporary Rental Program to provide housing assistance for vulnerable and under-resourced homeowners for the duration of construction. Administered by NYDIS and funded by the American Red Cross, Robin Hood Foundation, the Building Trade Employers’ Association, the Salvation Army and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, this program operates in conjunction with Build it Back’s Temporary Relocation Assistance program, which already provides rental reimbursement for homeowners relocated for at least a month due to construction.
To date, the program has placed 23 homeowners. These services will continue uninterrupted until the citywide services provider is selected.
“One of the most inspiring aspects of the Mayor’s Fund mission is our ability to work with city agencies to identify urgent challenges and a means by which private resources can help address them. We are proud to have done exactly that with the Sandy Temporary Rental Program, collaborating with our generous private partners to place Build it Back applicants in short-term housing and ensure construction can move forward on their homes,” said Darren Bloch, executive director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “We look forward to seeing our Temporary Rental Program’s model expanded with this new procurement.”