Scott Stringer to audit Build it Back program

Comptroller sets up Sandy Oversight Unit to gather testimony from homeowners

Sandy-damaged home and Scott Stringer
Sandy-damaged home and Scott Stringer

City Comptroller Scott Stringer said yesterday he will conduct an audit of the Build it Back program, which was launched by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to aid homeowners in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The comptroller office’s new Sandy Oversight Unit will seek testimony from homeowners in Lower Manhattan, Coney Island, Rockaway and Staten Island who claim the program has been of no service to them. About 20,000 people seeking aid remain on a waiting list, Stringer said.

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As of late last month, Build it Back had mailed only three checks. The funds, totaling $100,000, are intended to reimburse homeowners for repair work. But nearly two years after the storm, construction has only begun on three homes. None have been completely rebuilt.

“It will not work unless we are in the community listening to residents,” Stringer said, as reported by the New York Daily News. “Everybody knows the horror story post-Katrina. I’m not suggesting we are anywhere near that but the goal here has to be that we don’t have people hit twice — once by the storm and once by bureaucracy and government inefficiency.” [NYDN] Mark Maurer