De Blasio Administration Announces Immediate Expansion of Rental Assistance for Low-Income New Yorkers Impacted by Hurricane Sandy

April 28, 2014

Changes to temporary disaster assistance program allow city to immediately provide help to displaced low-income families facing high rent burden

TDAP expansion follows major overhaul of Sandy recovery programs, including expanded eligibility for housing recovery programs

NEW YORK—Today, the de Blasio administration announced that the city is immediately expanding the federally-funded Temporary Disaster Assistance Program (TDAP) to allow it to provide rental assistance to low-income New Yorkers who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy and now face high rent burdens of 40 percent or more of their income.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently approved the city’s proposed changes to TDAP as part of the city’s amendment to the Action Plan, which details how the city will spend the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds it has been allocated.

TDAP is administered by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). It was established to serve low-income renters – at or below 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), or no more than $41,950 for a family of four per HUD’s 2014 calculations – who were displaced from their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Eligibility was initially limited to displaced households who were residing in transitional housing such as hotels or shelters; facing expiring FEMA rental assistance; or registered through the Build It Back program. However, the city heard from a number of residents and advocates during the public comment period on the Action Plan, requesting a TDAP expansion.

This expansion now makes eligible all families who have already applied to TDAP, who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy and forced to relocate to long-term housing (signing a lease of a year or longer) and currently pay 40 percent or more of their income toward rent. The city has already started reaching out to those families, who were initially deemed ineligible, to bring them back into the program.

This expansion of TDAP eligibility follows the major overhaul of the city’s Hurricane Sandy recovery programs announced this month. Among a number of major improvements detailed in the administration’s new report, the city eliminated priority levels for various housing recovery programs, in addition to providing financial relief to homeowners and directly engaging communities in the rebuilding process, including by creating local jobs. TDAP or Build It Back applicants with questions regarding their eligibility for expanded TDAP can call Build It Back Customer Service at 212-615-8329 or visit nyc.gov/recovery.

“Expanding rental assistance for low-income New Yorkers displaced by Sandy is a simple change that will go a long way for families who need real financial relief,” said Mayor de Blasio. “After Sandy forced these families to relocate, they were then stuck handing over a huge portion of their income in rent. That’s unacceptable – and, now, they’ll get the support they deserve.”

“We are thrilled that HUD has approved the city’s request to amend the CDBG-DR Action Plan,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “Many people whose lives were uprooted by Hurricane Sandy are still in need of assistance, and they are certainly deserving of a helping hand.  We now have the opportunity to help more than 900 additional low-income families affected by Sandy gain access to safe and affordable housing.”

“The expansion of TDAP is a critical element in the administration’s efforts to enhance and improve the delivery of all programs that provide relief to New Yorkers who were impacted by Sandy,” said Bill Goldstein, Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure.

“Throughout our recovery, I have advocated for an expansion to the TDAP program to cover those renters that are now facing significantly higher rent burdens in the storm’s aftermath. The expansion of TDAP will help us all to recover as a more resilient and inclusive New York,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

“This assistance is great news for displaced tenants who are still struggling to recover, including many families and seniors. The storm impacted thousands of renters, so it is critical that the city takes meaningful steps like this on their behalf. This includes continuing the outreach efforts to inform every eligible storm victim from our diverse communities of this chance for much-needed rent relief,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

“The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding has long advocated for the expansion of Temporary Disaster Assistance Program. By including Sandy survivors struggling with rent burdens, the city is making good on its promise to help the most vulnerable New Yorkers recover,” said Susannah Dyen, coordinator of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding.

“My rent increased after Sandy, and I couldn’t afford to stay in my neighborhood. Now I live far away and can barely pay my rent. The TDAP expansions will be a huge lifeline for families like mine that have struggled to stay in our homes since the storm hit,” said Felipa Campos, Make the Road member and Staten Island resident.

"It's been two years since Sandy, and survivors need resources," said Council Member Donovan Richards.

"Now, even as we overhaul our recovery, we can share the reopening of the TDAP program with impacted New Yorkers. The return of this program will greatly aid families in need, and I am honored to continue building up our city with Mayor de Blasio."

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