Program to rebuild Sandy-damaged homes needs extra $92M

Original $1.7B budget has ballooned with delays and rising costs

Mayor Bill de Blasio and subway damage caused by Hurricane Sandy (Credit: Getty Images)
Mayor Bill de Blasio and subway damage caused by Hurricane Sandy (Credit: Getty Images)

A program to help rebuild homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy needs an extra $92 million, according to the de Blasio administration.

About $42 million of that will be likely covered by the city — a plan laid out in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget — while the remaining $50 million could come from the federal government. The Wall Street Journal reported that the city is seeking funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Build it Back program, launched in 2013, had an initial budget of $1.7 billion. The goal of the program was to rebuild homes damaged by the October 2012 storm and elevate homes vulnerable to flooding. The plan was to be completed by 2016 but has been hampered by setbacks, including soaring construction costs and difficulty finding contractors. In 2016 another $500 million in federal funding was poured into the program.

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If the additional $92 million is awarded, the total budget for the program would rise to almost $2.3 billion.

Amy Peterson, the director of the Mayor’s Office for Housing Recovery, told the Journal the additional funds would be used to buy damaged properties, pay contractors and address legal issues.

Repairs are ongoing at about 75 properties in Brooklyn and Queens, pushing costs beyond the initial estimate.

“You identify the need upfront, you get into the program and you realize that if you want to serve the people you want to serve, just how complicated it is to actually build in these communities,” Peterson said. [WSJ] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan