With new reports every week about the growing frustration New York City’s Superstorm Sandy victims feel towards recovery programs, Mayor Bill de Blasio has acknowledged that the city “needs to do better,” and said his administration will find a new approach.
Wall Street Journal reports:
“Some of [the inefficiencies in relief]is in the way that the federal law was written that made this very complicated,” Mr. de Blasio said Sunday in response to a question at a news conference.
“Some of it was on the implementation side, and New York City needs to do better,” he said.
He said he agreed with Mr. Bloomberg’s focus on resiliency and fortifying the city for future storms.
But he said he didn’t think “the effort to respond to the needs of a lot of folks affected by Sandy was as strong as it should have been.”
“We intend to come in with a different approach,” he said.
It’s being seen as a rebuke of the approach of his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, whose administration was instrumental to the rollout of the programs now confounding residents – including Build it Back, which has distributed only $9.7 million of the $648 million allocated for it.
According to the city’s own Sandy Tracker website, none of the nearly 20,000 single family homes (defined as homes with between one and four residential units) registered for the program have started construction, and only 154 of those registrants have had their awards selected.
By comparison, the state received $838 million for housing recovery from the federal government, and has already written $573 million in checks to more than 7,000 homeowners.
While de Blasio implied criticism of Bloomberg’s approach, the new mayor has not yet appointed a head of Build it Back. City Councilman Mark Treyger of Coney Island has called for the appointment of a Sandy recovery czar to help hold the city accountable.
De Blasio did not elaborate on the “different approach” he intends to pursue.