Officials accuse de Blasio of playing games with Sandy housing program

Politicians want city hall to delay "Build it Back" deadline at end of year

Elected officials representing areas impacted by Superstorm Sandy are accusing the mayor’s office of putting politics above people when it comes to a financial aid program for residents whose homes were destroyed in Superstorm Sandy.

Councilman Mark Treyger, chair of the council’s committee on recovery and resiliency, wrote a letter to the head of the “Build it Back” program, asking her to push back an end-of-year deadline for homeowners to register, DNAinfo reported.

“These strict deadlines give the unpleasant impression that Build It Back may be prioritizing, in its own words, ‘moving aggressively toward Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of program completion by the end of 2016’ over the well-being of New Yorkers who have been waiting for nearly four years for their homes to be rebuilt,” the Coney Island legislator wrote in a letter to Amy Peterson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery.

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Homeowners in Sandy-hit areas were hurried out of their homes in the fall months before work started, and in June the program quietly set new deadlines such as the timeframe residents have to sign off on their contract labor agreement.

Sources told DNAinfo the push to get the program moving was about the optics of making it seem as though De Blasio was making significant progress.

A spokesperson for the mayor, however, said 90 percent of homeowners – around 350 of them – complied with the new timelines once they were notified.

“Build It Back sets manageable deadlines for homeowners to ensure the city can complete the program and help these homeowners,” the spokesperson said in a statement.” These include set time periods to approve designs, relocate before construction, and submit required documentation.” [DNAinfo]Rich Bockmann

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