Build it Back, the city-run program to assist property owners in their recovery from Superstorm Sandy, has so far failed to help any of the 19,920 homeowners who have signed up for assistance, according to an analysis by Alliance for a Just Rebuilding.
Build it Back was created to supply cash to single-family and multi-family homeowners in need of repairs or reimbursement. Registration for the program started in July 2013 and closed in October. And since then families have either waited to no avail or have gone on to other assistance options. DNAinfo reports that city officials, “including Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on Thursday, have said that the complicated, document-heavy process for receiving funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has slowed the release of funds.”
The process for Build it Back hasn’t moved past this paperwork stage. Out of the 19,920 homeowners who have signed up only 173 have been able to establish how much aid they’re going to get out of the $648 million that the federal government has given to Build it Back. And absolutely no construction work has been done using the funds.
Many people have moved on and found other means of repairing their homes, but, according to advocates interviewed by the Daily News, leaves many of New York’s neediest with no alternative.
The program is required by federal guidelines to prioritize distribution based largely on income. So while more well-heeled victims can dig into their own pockets or quarrel with their insurance companies, the poorest are left waiting for the taps to flow.
“It is really a lifeline for folks who don’t have any other means to do repairs,” Nathalie Alegre, coordinator of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding, told the Daily News. “It’s extremely concerning the program hasn’t been able to speed up to the degree people need to get on with our lives.”
Are you registered for Build it Back? What has your experience been?