Only $100K handed out so far in Sandy aid program

To date, three checks mailed by Build it Back; "unacceptable length of time"

New York City’s Build it Back program, launched by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to aid Big Apple homeowners in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, has mailed only three checks as of last week.

The funds, totaling $100,000, are intended to reimburse homeowners for repair work. But construction has only begun on three homes nearly two years after the storm, and none have been completely rebuilt, the Associated Press reported.

Amy Peterson, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s newly-appointed director of housing recovery, laid much of the blame for the disbursement delay at the feet of the Bloomberg administration at a Monday city council hearing. The city has taken an “unacceptable length of time,” she told the assembled crowd, adding that the de Blasio administration has moved quickly since coming to office in January.

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An additional $800,000 is soon to be mailed to homeowners, and 70 individuals are currently in the process of negotiating with contractors to iron out construction plans, Peterson said.

Mayor de Blasio also allotted an additional $100 million to ensure that all applicants to the program with a destroyed home will receive assistance, but that portion accounts for only about 500 homes. For the rest to receive funding, Build it Back would require an additional $1 billion federal funding, Peterson said.

“There are significant uncertainties about the city’s ability to serve all applicants to the program,” Peterson said. [AP]Julie Strickland