New York City is launching a program to give residents one-on-one personal help and money to rebuild their Superstorm Sandy-destroyed homes.
The program is called NYC Build It Back.
Pat Dresch cried when City Councilman Vincent Ignizio welcomed her to his office in Staten Island on Monday. During Hurricane Sandy, Pat lost her husband, George, her 13-year-old daughter, Angela, and her house in Tottenville on Staten Island 's south shore. A giant wave swept them and her out of the house. She clung to some telephone wires and was rescued by firefighters.
She became the first to register for NYC Build It Back. It will use $648 million of federal housing money to repair, rebuild or compensate homeowners, tenants and landlords who lost property due to Sandy. Key will be several hundred caseworkers to guide victims through the insurance, FEMA, contractor, city funds.
"We are making our federal aid package simple and understandable and tailoring assistance to the specific needs of the families and businesses most impacted by Sandy," Bloomberg said at a City Hall news conference.
For some 20,000 families still struggling post Sandy, the program is reachable by calling 311 or going online to www.nyc.gov/builditback. NYC Build It Back is the next step of the Rapid Repairs program, city officials said.
Though few resident will receive as much as Pat Dresch will. All that is left of her house on Yetman Avenue are a few rusty trinkets, some faded flowers and candles. She is hoping the new city program will give her a new home on Staten Island. But she says it will have to be farther away from the water, at least north of Hylan Boulevard.