New York Receives $3 Billion in Federal Funds to Repair and Protect 33 Sandy-Damaged Housing Developments
NEW YORK, March 31, 2015—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced today approximately $3 billion in federal funding to repair and protect 33 public housing developments that sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy – the largest FEMA grant in the history of the agency. Half of the funds will be designated for repairs, while the other half will be aimed at implementing resiliency measures to better protect developments from future disasters. The funding is authorized by FEMA’s Alternative Procedures, which provides a lump sum payment instead of the typical incremental funding by FEMA.
Approximately $3 billion in funding will allow the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to repair and enhance resiliency at 33 developments where Sandy’s storm surge flooded basements and first floors of NYCHA buildings, severely damaging boilers and electrical and mechanical equipment, and leaving many residents without power and heat for days or weeks.
Today’s funds mean that NYCHA will be able to make critical repairs and implement key resiliency measures to better protect residents. NYCHA will be able to address considerable damage caused by Sandy at various developments where electrical and mechanical systems were crippled and in many cases completely destroyed. The funds will also allow NYCHA to take steps to make these developments more resilient to future storms. New construction of elevated boilers, installation of flood barrier systems, and stand-by generators will now help protect NYCHA residents from future extreme weather.
“When Sandy hit, it brought weeks of cold and darkness for thousands of NYCHA residents – and too many are still feeling the impact. This investment of $3 billion, the largest in FEMA history, won’t simply bring NYCHA developments back to pre-Sandy conditions. It will allow us to fortify buildings and utilities so that they’re resilient – and residents are much better protected – next time extreme weather hits,” said Mayor de Blasio. “From elevated boilers and standby generators to flood protection, this investment will go a long way for thousands of NYCHA residents. Thank you to Senator Schumer for his continued leadership and partnership as we build a stronger, more resilient New York, and to FEMA for these vital funds.”
“For thousands of hard-working New York families and seniors in some 200 NYCHA buildings from Red Hook to Coney Island to the Lower East to the Rockaways who were displaced and devastated by Superstorm Sandy, this massive and historic federal investment of $3 billion well-deserved dollars will both restore decent living conditions to their buildings and fortify them against future storms and disasters,” saidSenator Charles Schumer. “This is why we fought so hard to pass the Sandy-relief bill: so every single person impacted by that disaster could be made whole, and to build back better, smarter and stronger. Mayor de Blasio has been a great partner in the effort to build back stronger than ever, and we will help make sure that New York City does not remain defenseless in the future.”
“This federal funding is crucial for much-needed repairs and restoration for thousands of New York City families whose homes were damaged by Superstorm Sandy,” saidSenator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I will continue to fight for the critical federal relief dollars New Yorkers deserve so that our communities can continue to rebuild.”
“Nearly two and a half years after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York, our City has made great strides to recover and rebuild,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “However, we must go further to ensure that New Yorkers are better prepared, protected and ready to weather future emergencies. This $3 billion federal grant will storm harden damaged NYCHA infrastructure from top to bottom and make sure that our public housing developments are safe, fortified homes for residents. I thank Recovery and Resiliency Chair Mark Treyger and Public Housing Committee Chair Ritchie Torres for their steadfast efforts, dedicated oversight and relentless advocacy to help the hardest hit New Yorkers recover from Hurricane Sandy and Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Schumer for their continued commitment to build up a stronger New York City.”
“We welcome this FEMA grant, which will help thousands of working New Yorkers who are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Every single New Yorker deserves to live in safe, decent housing and these funds will allow us to provide that for the residents of NYCHA. I thank Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio for their hard work in bringing this grant to New York.”
The work completed via this funding will be subject to NYCHA’s recently negotiated Project Labor Agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC) of Greater New York, as well as its affiliated unions – allowing NYCHA residents to gain access to union jobs and training and helping ensure swifter capital construction.
This agreement with FEMA follows other significant progress as a result of Mayor de Blasio’s overhaul of Sandy recovery programs. The new Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency is also implementing key resiliency measures, including an integrated flood protection system in Red Hook in collaboration with the State, and many other short-, medium-, and long-term measures across the five boroughs.
The lump-sum award will jumpstart much-needed repairs across NYCHA properties and follows many billions in federal funds Senator Schumer has already secured on behalf of Sandy-impacted areas across New York City.
NYCHA requires more than $18 billion beyond the funding announced today to address its broader unmet capital needs across its portfolio of more than 330 developments. Eroding annual support for NYCHA has resulted in more than $1 billion in lost funding in recent years, hindering the Authority’s ability to keep its buildings in a state of decent repair and maintain a basic quality of life for the more than 400,000 New Yorkers living in NYCHA.
The repair and mitigation work at these 33 developments will include:
• New elevated boiler buildings to be built at an elevation above the recent FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) to reduce future flood risk
• Removal and replacement of building heating plant equipment, including boilers, pumps, tanks and traps throughout the submerged portions of the buildings
• Removal and replacement of Sandy-damaged compactors and lifts
• Installation of standby generators to protect quality of life in any future storm power outages
• Removal and replacement of existing electrical equipment at lower levels of the buildings
• Removal and replacement of conduit and associated wiring below the flood level throughout the sites, as well as replacement of associated lighting
• Installation of CCTV/Layered Access systems
• New electrical buildings, to be built above FEMA FIRM to reduce flood risk, that will house buildings’ main electrical components.
• Removal and replacement of Sandy damaged doors, walls, floors and fixtures throughout buildings’ first floor apartments and common areas
• Replacement of damaged roofing components
• Installation of a flood barrier system for lower levels of buildings
Site Work and Environmental
• Removal and replacement of damaged play areas, fencing, sidewalks and parking areas
• Removal and disposal of any regulated or hazardous materials
The 33 developments are as follows:
Coney Island Houses
Red Hook West
Red Hook East
Coney Island Sites 4 & 5
Ocean Bay Oceanside
Coney Island Site 8
Ocean Bay Bayside
East River Houses
Coney Island Site 1B
“In the wake of Sandy, we are committed to rebuilding and restoring the lives of New Yorkers impacted by this terrible storm,” said NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye. “These much-needed FEMA dollars will be put to good use repairing infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed in more than 30 NYCHA developments hardest-hit by the storm. More importantly, this federal investment—the largest FEMA grant in history – will allow us to become more resilient against future storms.”
“Hurricane Sandy exposed significant vulnerabilities in our waterfront communities, particularly within NYCHA’s coastal developments,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “By securing this $3 billion FEMA award – the largest in history – the City will ensure that its public housing infrastructure will be improved and that residents will be safer in the face of a changing climate. Thanks to Senator Schumer and our entire federal delegation for working with FEMA to secure these funds. This partnership is vital as we continue to build a stronger, more resilient New York.”
Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez said, “Many New Yorkers hardest hit by Sandy were among our city’s most vulnerable, including NYCHA residents. Ensuring all our neighbors are made whole after the storm is not just an issue of disaster recovery, but also a matter of fairness and social justice. By allowing badly needed repairs and upgrades, these federal funds will make important strides in that direction.”
“This historic announcement ensures that NYCHA remains a restoration and resiliency priority as we continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy. For far too long, families, seniors, and the most vulnerable have endured declining living conditions as a result of Sandy. This timely investment will improve these conditions for tens of thousands of New York City residents and will go a long way to protect us against future storms,” said Congressman Gregory Meeks.
“As a member of Congress who served on the Homeland Security Committee for the past eight years, I am pleased to see that the Obama Administration has responded, through FEMA, to the needs of New Yorkers who reside in public housing. I would also like to commend my colleagues in government for the partnership and collaboration that brought us to this point. The devastation of Hurricane Sandy had particularly terrible consequences in NYCHA developments where – as a result of many years of disinvestment, a lack of even basic maintenance, and financial neglect – thousands of families were deprived of heat and electricity for several weeks after the storm,” saidCongresswoman Yvette Clarke. “We cannot ever again allow children and families in New York City to remain in the cold, in unsafe and unhealthy homes. This $3 billion investment will improve the quality of life in NYCHA buildings by repairing structures that were damaged in the storm and preparing the buildings for future severe storms. Now we must continue our efforts to secure additional investments in NYCHA, and the more than 400,000 people who are living in its developments. I will continue to work with Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York City Delegation to Congress, and my colleagues in state and local government to restore NYCHA and work to secure a safer environment for our families, and a more wholesome community in which to live.”
“Superstorm Sandy destroyed the homes and livelihoods of our neighbors around Brooklyn and throughout the city,” said Congressman Hakeem Jefferies. “This unprecedented $3 billion grant is a monumental step in the right direction toward helping NYCHA residents repair their homes and rebuild their lives. It will also be used to protect NYCHA buildings against future natural disasters. Senator Schumer, Mayor de Blasio and my Congressional colleagues should be commended for their vital role in helping NYCHA secure the largest grant in FEMA history.”
“We all remember the terrible weeks after Sandy first devastated our city,” saidCongresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “Thousands of New Yorkers were displaced or forced to remain in the cold and the dark, scared and unsure when their homes would be restored. NYCHA housing near the waterfront was hit particularly hard, many of which are in my district. This money will now go towards not only returning these developments to good repair, but improving them to protect against future storms and disasters. I was pleased to work with Mayor de Blasio, Senator Schumer, and the entire New York Delegation to secure this $3 billion in funding from FEMA.”
“All along Brooklyn’s waterfront, NYCHA infrastructure will undergo much-needed post-Sandy repairs and implement much-needed resiliency measures to better protect buildings and residents from future storms,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The funding comes at a critical time for our City’s public housing, and we owe three billion thank you’s to Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio for their work in bringing this support back to taxpayers in need. With this welcome news, I am more confident than ever that Brooklyn and New York City are heading in the right direction in protecting its residents and infrastructure against extreme weather.”
“Hurricane Sandy pummeled our city with flooding, racking up damage that we’re still working to repair two years later,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “I’m thrilled Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio have secured this unprecedented federal commitment of funding that will help repair and rebuild our city’s public housing developments.”
“Today’s historic commitment to help rebuild New York’s communities damaged after Sandy is a welcome step in the right direction. Red Hook residents are tired of red tape and bureaucracy; they need their development fully restored. I want to thank Senator Charles Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their leadership in obtaining this tremendous FEMA grant. These funds will help a community rebuild, prepare for future sustainability and resiliency, and continue to establish Red Hook as one the city’s premier neighborhoods,” said Assembly Member Felix Ortiz.
“This is tremendous news for the countless residents who have endured so much since Sandy devastated their homes, and a victory for all of the public housing residents who are still struggling to finally recover. It is the direct result of the residents who mobilized following the storm, and brought to light these inhumane and deplorable conditions at a hearing that my committee held in Coney Island with the support of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Richie Torres. Now that we have this funding in place thanks to the devotion of our elected officials including Mayor de Blasio and Senator Schumer, it is imperative that it leads to action on the ground in impacted communities across the city,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Resiliency and Recovery.
“This new funding represents a huge step toward improving the lives of thousands of Lower East Side NYCHA residents who are still struggling with post-Sandy damage and the fear of being left unprotected in another natural disaster,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “By making necessary repairs and fortifying our NYCHA infrastructure within flood zones, we can get much closer to truly protecting those public housing residents for generations to come. I thank Senator Schumer for being such a great champion of this vital effort, and I thank for Mayor de Blasio for his continued focus on post-Sandy recovery and resiliency throughout our city.”
“I commend Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio for their work to include our city’s public housing in FEMA’s post-Sandy repair and resiliency enhancements. Our NYCHA developments will be better protected due to this $3 billion in federal funding,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “As we work to make our city more sustainable and inclusive, we must ensure that our public housing is safe and resilient. These post-Sandy repairs are desperately needed at many NYCHA developments that experienced flooding, electrical damage, and heat loss. Astoria Houses residents, who live very close to the East River waterfront, experienced some of the worst flooding in our district. This funding will go a long way toward repairing that damage and ensuring that our housing is sustainable and resilient for years to come.”
“This vital funding provided by FEMA will not only repair the 33 of the NYCHA developments greatly affected by Sandy but it will protect and secure these developments from future storms and disasters. I commend Senator Charles Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio for their leadership and advocacy in securing these funds and making this great city safer and more resilient. Thank you FEMA for funding this project and fortifying our developments,” said Council Member Inez Dickens.
“This $3 billion federal grant will help repair the NYCHA developments most hard-hit during Sandy, and, equally importantly, fortify them for future storms. During the storm, Stanley Isaacs in my district flooded, leaving many residents in despair. These funds will help secure Stanley Isaacs, and other NYCHA developments, so residents do not have to go through that struggle again,” said Council Member Ben Kallos.
“This funding is much-needed for NYCHA developments impacted by Hurricane Sandy like Gowanus Houses. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and Senator Schumer and I look forward to seeing this funding help our NYCHA communities throughout the city,” saidCouncil Member Stephen Levin.
“The unprecedented nature of this funding to NYCHA – I hope – is symbolic of different, and better, times ahead in terms of support to public housing in New York City. The breakdown of the funding – to address both damages caused directly by Hurricane Sandy and to create resilient infrastructure – is critically important because it means preparing vulnerable NYCHA residents for the realities of a changing and unpredictable climate. In the Red Hook Houses – the second largest NYCHA development in the City – residents were adversely affected by storm weather, and continue to struggle to regain normalcy in their access to heat, hot water, and damaged open space amenities. I am encouraged that this funding will begin a conversation about the needs that remain, and the commitments required to making NYCHA whole,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
“It has been 2 ½ years since Superstorm Sandy devastated our city and my community in the Lower East Side,” said Council Member Rosie Mendez. “My public housing developments, like so many others in other districts, have been functioning with temporary boilers and awaiting much needed repairs. I am glad to hear that $3 billion is now on its way to the 33 developments that were damaged during the storm for a multitude of repairs including making these building more resilient to future storms.”
“All six of the public housing developments on the Rockaway peninsula faced extensive damage after Super Storm Sandy,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. ‘This historic 3 billion dollar infusion from FEMA will provide funding for not only long overdue repairs, but will also be instrumental in safeguarding our public housing against future storms. I would like to thank the administration for prioritizing the needs of public housing residents in the Rockaways and look forwarded to these structural improvements and upgrades.”
“These funds are welcome and needed relief for residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy and also will help create good union construction jobs and provide opportunities to NYCHA residents thanks to a recently signed project labor agreement between NYCHA and the BCTC. We are thankful to Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio for their leadership in making this come to fruition,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York (BCTC).
“We applaud the allocation of $3 billion in federal funding for NYCHA will provide much needed repairs and resiliency measures. Elevating boilers, including back up generators, and replacing damaged doors and windows are key to protect our public housing residents during future storms. Additionally, this work will create new jobs, many of which will go to NYCHA residents,” said Matt Ryan, Executive Director of ALIGN.
“Faith in New York and our congregations applaud Mayor de Blasio and Senator Schumer for their work in bringing billions of dollars of new investment for NYCHA residents that desperately need and deserve these repairs. In areas like the Rockaways, NYCHA residents have been suffering from mold and disrepair that was only made worse by the storm. With this announcement and the newly announced Build it Back contracts, the Mayor has continued his commitment to assuring that Sandy recovery investment truly benefits those that are most in need,” said Onleilove Alston, Executive Director of Faith in New York.
“We support FEMA funding NYCHA for repairs and resiliency in public housing hit by Superstorm Sandy. Elevating the boilers, putting in backup generators, and repairing roofs were identified as priorities in our Weathering the Storm report. These critical improvements will ensure residents do not have to live without heat, electricity, or hot water after future storms as we did after Sandy. NYCHA has long been underfunded and we hope this funding signals a true commitment to fully fund the repairs and resiliency needs of all NYCHA developments,” said Vernell Robbinson, Community Voices Heard member and resident of Carlton Manor in Far Rockaway.