De Blasio reconstructs Build it Back

Mayor revamps much-criticized Sandy recovery program

From left: Bill de Blasio, Daniel Zarilli and Scott Stringer
From left: Bill de Blasio, Daniel Zarilli and Scott Stringer

Amid reports critical of New York City’s sluggish recovery from Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bill de Blasio has shuffled resources, changed rules and appointed new leadership for the rebuilding in an effort to keep things moving.

De Blasio outlined the streamlined Build it Back program in an announcement yesterday, Crain’s reported. For starters, the mayor has committed to begin construction on at least 500 storm-wrecked homes by summer’s end, as well as issue the same volume of reimbursement checks to to homeowners who’ve made their own repairs, Crain’s reported.

Toward this, de Blasio has reallocated manpower from the Department of Buildings to the Build it Back program. Home rebuilding will no longer be prioritized based on income, which could speed up the process, according to the article. 

The changes follow a 35 percent increase in staffing for the Housing Recovery Office, and coincide with the start of an audit of Build it Back by Comptroller Scott Stringer, the article said.

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“It is critical to have an accounting of how government has responded to this event, and what we can do to better prepare for the future,” Stringer said in a statement to Crain’s.

Meanwhile, the engineer and author of a book hailed as a post Sandy rebuilding guide — Daniel Zarrilli — is leading the effort to make the city more resilient against future storms, according to another Crain’s article.

To date, the city has issued 30 reimbursement checks — up from zero at the start of the year. [Crain’s] and [Crain’s] Angela Hunt

(Photo of Bill de Blasio from Shutterstock)