Mayor de Blasio Announces Key Resiliency Investments to Support Small Businesses and Jobs, Including New Business Resiliency Program and Major Upgrades Across Sandy-Impacted Neighborhoods

December 19, 2014

New programs part of CDBG-DR Action Plan amendment released today further Mayor de Blasio’s Build it Back overhaul – locking in funds to serve all applicants, providing temporary relocation assistance, expanding workforce development for Sandy-impacted New Yorkers

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced new targeted resiliency and infrastructure investments that will support businesses and jobs in neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Sandy, including Business PREP (Preparedness and Resiliency Program), a new program to help small businesses better prepare for emergencies and enhance the resiliency of their operations, assets, and physical space, and a host of major new investments in neighborhoods that include the Rockaways, Staten Island, Coney Island, and Hunts Point.

The new programs and investments are part of the City’s proposed Action Plan Amendment to the $4.21 billion in federal disaster aid it has been allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. The Action Plan Amendment is being released today ahead of a community engagement process that will take place over the coming weeks throughout Sandy-impacted communities.  More information is available at www.nyc.gov/CDBG.

The Action Plan Amendment also locks in critical funding to ensure all Build it Back applicants will be served, while creating a Temporary Relocation Program to provide financial assistance to homeowners displaced during construction and expanding Build it Back’s local workforce development initiatives. Following Mayor de Blasio’s Build it Back overhaul in April, the program continues to make dramatic progress – with 949 construction starts and 2,019 reimbursement checks to date, compared to none earlier this year.

“As we continue to build back a stronger and more resilient city after Sandy, it’s critical that we make every impacted family and small business whole again – and ensure they’re better protected next time they need to be,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We’ve focused on reshaping ineffective programs to deliver real results for communities who need them, and that’s exactly what we’re continuing to do through today’s Action Plan Amendment.  From support for local small businesses and major infrastructure upgrades across the five boroughs, to continued progress on Build it Back and financial relief for homeowners, we are speeding up recovery while building a safer New York City.”

The proposed Action Plan Amendment 8 released today updates funding amounts and other key information to reflect the third allocation of CDBG-DR funds to New York City, and makes the following changes, which complement the City’s extensive recovery and resiliency work to date.

Business and Coastal Resiliency

The Action Plan Amendment reallocates funds from the inactive Neighborhood Game Changer program and the Business Resiliency Investment Program to more effective business-related programs and targeted key resiliency investments that will protect small businesses and commercial corridors and benefit entire neighborhoods, as well as to the Build it Back program (as previously announced) to ensure all homeowners will be served.

The business and coastal resiliency programs include:

· $3 million for Business PREP (Preparedness and Resiliency Program), a business resiliency program that will provide support for small businesses to implement operational and physical resiliency measures. Assistance could include one-on-one site visits for resiliency assessments, the development of an online business resiliency and preparedness tool to help businesses plan for improved resiliency, and educational resources such as targeted workshops featuring technical experts. Business PREP will be open to all small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy, and components of the program will be available to businesses citywide. The program is expected to assist up to 500 small businesses across the city.

· $15 million for targeted infrastructure and resiliency improvements in key commercial corridors throughout the Rockaways, such as Beach 108th Street, Mott Avenue, and surrounding business districts. These funds are complemented by $8.2 million from the State’s NY Rising program. Businesses in the Rockaways continue to struggle from a decline in economic activity, in part due to surrounding vacant storefronts and damaged streetscapes. These funds will cover streetscape and stormwater management upgrades and the creation of new open space to renew the viability and resiliency of the commercial thoroughfares, benefiting over 200 businesses and 2,000 jobs.

· $12 million for the restoration of the Saw Mill Creek marsh on Staten Island, to restore approximately 68 acres of severely degraded City-owned wetlands and uplands in northwestern Staten Island in an area heavily inundated during Hurricane Sandy. Reestablishing the previously degraded wetland ecosystem will serve to protect against the harmful impacts of storm-related flooding for hundreds of businesses adjacent to the march and launches New York City’s first mitigation bank to catalyze further wetland restoration.

· $15 million to enhance ongoing green infrastructure work along commercial corridors in Coney Island, including the installation of right-of-way bioswales. The new infrastructure, generally between West 8th and West 37th Streets – between Coney Island Creek and the beach – will improve stormwater retention, filter and maintain water quality in local waterways, and enhance business and retail areas through beautification. The project will protect over 830 local businesses and 9,000 jobs, complementing the City’s ongoing programs to make Coney Island more economically resilient and increasingly attractive to businesses and consumers.

· $25 million to support resiliency measures in Hunts Point, which will protect the region’s primary food supply hub (which handles approximately half of the produce, meat, and fish consumed by New Yorkers). This will match the $20 million allocated to Hunts Point resiliency this summer through HUD’s Rebuild by Design program, detailed below. The investment will benefit over 200 business and 6,500 jobs in the distribution center, while also providing citywide benefits as damage from severe weather events to the Hunts Point food distribution center could potentially disrupt food supply chains across the city.

· $28 million for critical resiliency measures at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). As the Mayor announced in September, the City’s allocation will move forward SIUH’s comprehensive resiliency program, including the elevation of critical building power and mechanical systems, the installation of sanitary holding tanks and backflow prevention, and the installation of major wind resiliency and roofing improvements. SIUH is Staten Island’s largest employer; the City’s investment comes in advance of expected U.S. Army Corps of Engineers measures that will provide complementary protection to SIUH in the coming years.

The Action Plan Amendment also accounts for $355 million in new coastal resiliency funding via the HUD Rebuild by Design program, including:

· $335 million for a massive flood protection system of the East Side of Manhattan. The project will create a multi-layered protective system that will also provide social and environmental benefits to the community.

· $20 million for Hunts Point to evaluate integrated coastal protection, workforce development, energy, and stormwater resiliency, and an emergency maritime supply chain in support of food supply protection. The funding will be used for continued study, analysis, and planning, as well as for design, engineering, and construction of the first phase pilot project. These funds are matched by the $25 million detailed above.

The City is also providing an additional $3 million to be used to advance resiliency planning and feasibility studies for other areas of Lower Manhattan, and $2 million for direct design and planning to study integrated flood protection systems in East Harlem and on Staten Island’s North Shore.

Housing Recovery

The Action Plan Amendment accounts for $639 million in new housing recovery funds from the third tranche of HUD funds allocated earlier this year, as well as $200 million in funds reallocated to Build it Back, enabling the City to serve all Build it Back applicants regardless of priority levels. This Action Plan Amendment allocates new funding for temporary relocation during construction and workforce development, and formalizes changes Mayor de Blasio made earlier this year as part of his Build it Back overhaul:

· Creates a Build it Back Temporary Relocation Program. The program will provide financial assistance to homeowners who must move during Build it Back construction through a new optional Temporary Relocation Program. Relocation assistance will be made available to all eligible homeowners who must vacate their homes for at least 30 days during construction. Homeowners will be paid for their temporary housing costs based on rent receipts and within guidelines based on household size.

· $3 million to expand Build it Back’s workforce development initiatives, linked to the current City procurement for expanded design and construction capacity. The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery (HRO) have developed a partnership, Sandy Recovery Workforce1, to support the Build it Back program and other Sandy-related rebuilding and resiliency efforts in coordination with the Workforce1 system. Through this partnership, Sandy Recovery Workforce1 will connect qualified residents to job opportunities generated as a result of rebuilding and resiliency efforts. To expand this effort beyond the resources already provided by the City in the Rockaways and Staten Island, HRO and SBS will open one or more Sandy Recovery Workforce1 centers, the first of which is proposed to be located in Southern Brooklyn to serve low to moderate income residents of Sandy-impacted neighborhoods. The City will also offer training vouchers to Sandy-impacted residents for participation in job training programs, including pre-apprenticeships, linked to Sandy recovery work.

· Proposes an option for homeowners to receive a direct grant to complete moderate repair projects (projects not requiring elevation) instead of having Build it Back complete the construction work. 

· Extends the Temporary Disaster Assistance Program (TDAP) rental assistance benefit from two years to four years. TDAP provides a temporary rental subsidy and housing referral assistance to eligible low-income renters who were affected by Sandy and who were displaced from their homes as a result of the storm.

“This Action Plan Amendment provides funds for our highest priority recovery and resiliency investments and supports New Yorkers who are still dealing with the impacts of Hurricane Sandy,” said Bill Goldstein, Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Recovery, Resiliency, and Infrastructure. “The plan lays out targeted programs that build upon the City’s ongoing recovery and resiliency programs.  I want to thank Secretary Castro for these critical funds for our housing, business and resiliency programs.”

“New York City continues to invest in its comprehensive resiliency program to prepare for a future with climate change through a multilayered strategy of stronger coastal defenses, upgraded buildings, improved infrastructure, and safer neighborhoods,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency.  “With this Action Plan Amendment, a commitment has been made in all five boroughs to reduce risk in coastal communities, including $355 million for Rebuild by Design investments, millions in support for small businesses and commercial corridors, and $28 million for resiliency measures at Staten Island University Hospital.  We look forward to working collaboratively with local communities on the implementation of these projects and the creation of local job opportunities.”

“With the release of this Action Plan Amendment, we are responding to the priorities of homeowners and the needs we have heard expressed in Sandy-impacted communities.  The commitment of an additional $839 million in funding to housing recovery ensures that all Build It Back applicants will be served as we continue to speed up relief to homeowners,” said Amy Peterson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations. “By reimbursing homeowners for temporary relocation expenses during construction, the program can accelerate construction while providing much needed financial relief to homeowners.  And through our workforce funding, we are able to ensure that we are meeting a priority of Mayor de Blasio: providing key opportunities for New Yorkers to work on the rebuilding of their own communities, including training vouchers for pre-apprenticeship programs that will give Sandy-impacted residents direct access to careers in the unionized construction industry, and access to assistance at Sandy Recovery Workforce1 centers, including one in Southern Brooklyn coordinated with the help of Councilmember Treyger.”

“Since Hurricane Sandy, the City has distributed to date, approximately $46.8 million in loans, grants, and micro-grants to help small businesses impacted by the storm. Under the de Blasio administration, we turned around the Hurricane Sandy Business Loan and Grant Program to award more grants, make guidelines more flexible, and increased disbursements from just seven approvals last January to more than 140 today,” said Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “The new programs announced today will continue our progress and help neighborhoods and small businesses prepare for the next emergency in a more efficient and effective way, and also help connect job seekers in impacted areas to high quality training and employment opportunities resulting from the rebuilding efforts and beyond.”

“Promoting the resiliency of our city is not only good environmental policy—it’s good economics. With these investments, we are not simply recovering from Superstorm Sandy but looking towards the future,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball. “These investments will benefit businesses and protect jobs across the city, from the food markets in the Bronx to business corridors in the Rockaways, ensuring our economy as a whole can better resist the impact of future storms and the long-term effects of climate change‎.”

“Investing in green infrastructure is a cost-effective way to manage stormwater that also delivers many additional benefits to communities including a greener landscape, cleaner air, increased shade and cooler temperatures,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “In addition every gallon of stormwater that is managed by green spaces reduces the amount of wastewater that has to be treated and that decreases chemical use and greenhouse gas emissions.”

“I welcome the Mayor’s announcement of new programs as part of CDBG-DR that will provide crucial funding to ensure that our communities continue on a path of rebuilding and resiliency from Super Storm Sandy. I know all too well that many are still struggling to recover even two years after the storm, particularly those in the Rockaways. I stay committed to working with the Mayor and my colleagues in Congress to continue the fight for New York's full recovery from Sandy,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. 

“The dedication of resources to support homeowners and small businesses that were harmed in Hurricane Sandy will contribute to their continued recovery and improve the resiliency of New York City when such as storm occurs in the future,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “I know from my personal experience the courage demonstrated by families in Sheepshead Bay, Gerritsen Beach, and other parts of our community – families who want to rebuild their homes and restore their neighborhoods. After delays in rebuilding in the period of time immediately after Hurricane Sandy, we have a shared responsibility to provide needed assistance as quickly as possible, to as many of those individuals as are eligible. The plan announced today by Mayor de Blasio offers a substantial contribution to that critical effort.”

“These new programs and strategic investments will help New York City continue its recovery from the devastating effects of hurricane Sandy and build the city’s resiliency and capacity to face storms and other disasters in the future. I am especially glad to see significant investments being proposed for resiliency measures for Hunts Point.  As the region’s primary food hub, and a winner of Rebuild by Design funds, these additional investments will help revitalize the community and protect the markets.  Thousands of families and small businesses, including many in the Bronx, will benefit from these programs. They will also help restore natural resources that were damaged by the storm and help prepare them to withstand future natural disasters. I look forward to the positive impact this effort will have on our local economy, infrastructure, and ecosystem,” said Congressman José E. Serrano

“I thank the de Blasio administration for their continued commitment to neighborhoods still recovering from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. I am particularly pleased to see the attention to resiliency in efforts such as the $15 million investment in green infrastructure that will help address long-standing flooding issues in Coney Island, as well as the extension of temporary housing assistance for low-income renters that still need a helping hand,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“We welcome the good news about the Build it Back Temporary Relocation Program, which will help homeowners afford temporary housing while their homes are being reconstructed. This will truly help those who would otherwise not be able to afford temporary housing during the time when they are required to vacate their homes. I will continue working with the Administration to ensure all those Staten Islanders working with Build It Back finally get the assistance they need,” said  Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo.

“It’s been just over two years since Superstorm Sandy, yet many continue to face immense challenges in their efforts to recover and rebuild. The Mayor's enhancements to the resiliency efforts will help survivors ever determined and resolved to restore our neighborhoods into thriving communities once again. I thank the Mayor and his administration for their commitment and attention to our residents and small businesses, especially the extension of TDAP rental vouchers and key investments to protect commercial corridors,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“Today’s announcement is another critical step towards building back our city stronger than ever before. The City’s Sandy Recovery Action Plan puts us on a path towards rebuilding not only our roads and reclaiming our businesses, but reaching out to those communities that were devastated by this storm.  This plan is a win for the Bronx, and I am pleased that $45 million in funding will go to assist designing for resiliency measures in Hunts Point in order to protect against future storms. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his continued work so that all residents impacted receive the help that they urgently need,” said Senate Majority Co-Leader Jeff Klein.

“Today’s announcement is a real step forward for everyone impacted by Sandy. The Lower East Side flood protection system and additional funds for future resiliency measures will protect our most vulnerable communities, including thousands of NYCHA residents, and show that resiliency building is also community building -- for the world class park at Pier 42 and beyond. Mayor de Blasio's Action Plan amendment is a big deal for our Lower Manhattan community and the city at large,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron.

“Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on my community and we have spent the past several years on the road to recovery. Mayor de Blasio`s resiliency and infrastructure investments will help bring back much needed jobs that were lost in the wake of the storm. Families and homeowners who have yet to receive monies from Build it Back will be given repairs and aid. Small business owners who saw their life's work ruined by the storm will receive training and resources for emergency preparedness and help with improving their physical space through the Business Preparedness and Resiliency program.  As we look ahead to the new year, I look forward to seeing the Rockaways transform with the new opportunities the resiliency and infrastructure investments will provide,” said State Senator James Sanders.

“For those still waiting for relief and assistance in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the wait is soon over. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Build It Back program for their continued commitment to helping all New Yorkers who found their lives changed by the destruction of Sandy. This is great news for the people of my district still rebuilding in the communities of Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and Manhattan Beach. I look forward to working with the City until everyone gets helped,” said Senator Marty Golden.

“Superstorm Sandy demonstrated the desperate need for investment in new infrastructure to protect  New York City from the impacts of climate change.  These resiliency investments will help ensure that our city is better prepared for future storms and rising sea levels. I commend the de Blasio administration for its proactive approach to protecting at-risk communities,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.

“These new targeted resiliency and infrastructure investments should go a long way to support businesses hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy that are still making their way back from the storm's destruction. Jobs will help people who have been without work for too long. We've been waiting too long for government responses after too much red tape. I am also pleased that these businesses will receive the help they need to prepare for future storms and changes brought on by the weather,” said Assemblyman Felix Ortiz.

“I’m pleased the Action Plan Amendment is being released so our Sandy impacted communities and stakeholders will have the opportunity to review, understand, comment on, and ultimately benefit from it. Progress is finally being made and we must ensure we keep the momentum going!” said Assemblyman Matthew J. Titone.

“The resiliency programs and investments being created by the Mayor for businesses that have been affected by Sandy are necessary steps for Staten Island. I commend Mayor De Blasio for understanding this need and for creating programs that help businesses on Staten Island and for ensuring much needed funding for Build it Back applicants and residents that were displaced by Superstorm Sandy.  It is important the Staten Island community becomes stronger and that steps are taken so that in the future we are better prepared in case of a disaster.” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick .

“A small change in the trajectory of Hurricane Sandy could have had a devastating impact in The Bronx, particularly as it relates to the Hunt’s Point community and the multiple cooperative markets which generate billions in revenue, employ thousands of local residents, and help feed over 20 million tri-state residents,” said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. “Today’s announced allocation, coupled with the Hunt’s Point Lifelines funding through HUD's Rebuild By Design Program, will help realize tangible resiliency improvements to better protect our community and the livelihood of all New Yorker’s against another disaster.”

“I would like to thank Housing Recovery Director Amy Peterson for being very responsive to my calls for a Southern Brooklyn workforce development center as we continue to rebuild homes and give residents a role in the recovery. This $1.6 million investment will serve as hub to connect and prepare local residents to job opportunities associated with the recovery of their own neighborhood. I am also pleased that there is funding for every Build it Back applicant, measures to help relocate residents while homes are elevated and $15 million for Mermaid Avenue resiliency measures. I thank Director Peterson and the de Blasio administration for hearing my concerns regarding the recovery and look forward to continuing to rebuild communities and build up our City's resiliency,” said Council Member Mark Treyger.

“While there is still a long way to go, we have to acknowledge how far this administration has come and all of the efforts it has made to ensure our communities fully recover from Hurricane Sandy. This latest action plan for federal disaster relief funds shows that the Mayor has listened to our concerns and continues to adapt the city's recovery programs to meet the needs of our residents and businesses - in particular, with relocation assistance for families whose homes are being repaired by Build it Back and help for local businesses that have been undeserved or neglected in previous programs. I look forward to the public input and further discussion on these changes over the next few months,” said Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio.

“The expansion of new and enhanced supportive projects through the Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery program is great news for all residents hit by Sandy,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair to the Committee on Environmental Protection. “From increased services for Build-it-back applicants to the recent allocation of $15 million to rebuild and install vital infrastructure in the Mott Ave business corridor, my community will be more prepared to address the challenges posed by climate change. I thank the administration for taking a comprehensive approach to resiliency and assisting those still feeling the impact of Super Storm Sandy. I look forward to further collaboration on rebuilding and supporting everyday New Yorkers.”

“The planned distribution of these funds to help our residents, small businesses and open space is critical to the future of our city. I commend Mayor de Blasio for his leadership not only in moving forward a long-delayed recovery but also for his focus on resiliency. We have no way of knowing what Mother Nature may bring us in the years ahead, but we must nonetheless take steps to prepare our city for future weather events. As we begin a 30-day comment period on the mayor's proposed plan, I encourage my constituents, especially entrepreneurs with small businesses, to review the plan and to provide your input to the mayor's office,” said Council Member Debi Rose.

“It is welcome news that the City is doing what is right by paying for temporary housing for those having their homes repaired and rebuilt. Those affected by Sandy have been through  enough and deserve these much needed funds so they do not have to simultaneously pay for a mortgage on a home they cannot yet use and rent on an apartment they must have,” said Council Member Steven Matteo.

“Mayor de Blasio and his team are making a strong statement today that while most of us have but faded memories of Sandy's destruction, vulnerable New Yorkers who found themselves in her path are only beginning to really rebuild. The Sandy survivors in Make the Road's membership are heartened today knowing that the city has not forgotten their struggles, and all of us are heartened that our Mayor is saying never again will we be caught unprepared,” said Deborah Axt, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York.

“The announced Action Plan amendment contains a number of significant new programs and expansions that directly help the most vulnerable New Yorkers impacted by Superstorm Sandy. We applaud the expansion and enhancement of workforce development services providing access to training and job placement for Sandy survivors. Additionally, the extension of Temporary Disaster Assistance Program from 2 years to 4 years and the funding for temporary housing during construction are critical in relieving financial burden and helping renters as well as low -income homeowners rebuild their lives. We look forward to continue working with the City to build on these successes,” said Susannah Dyen, coordinator of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding.

“As we all know, Superstorm Sandy amplified long standing issues of unemployment and inequity in communities impacted by the storm. Mayor de Blasio and Amy Peterson, along with allies in community and labor, have created innovative and powerful solutions to connect Sandy impacted communities with opportunities for long term careers with family sustaining wages rebuilding their own communities. The administration has also created a pathway for residents who are not currently trained to gain the skills they need to access these jobs. We applaud the administration and all of the community members for the advocacy and creative thinking that has led to this great step forward. We also want to recognize the administration’s commitment to providing housing relief to Sandy victims who are being displaced as their homes are rebuilt. By allocating funding to support these families, the administration is assuring that Sandy victims are able to take the final steps in making their homes whole again,” said Onleilove Alston, Interim Executive Director of Faith in New York.

“Infrastructure that can withstand future weather events is essential to business operations,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “These investments will help reinforce the City’s resiliency, strengthening our competitive status as a center of innovation and benefiting businesses and residents across New York City.”

“The Staten Island Community is grateful for the leadership and dedication that Mayor de Blasio has shown to us by investing in Staten Island University Hospital's critical infrastructure. This 28 million dollar investment will certainly ensure the continued vitality of our institution and protect all Staten Islanders and enhance their uninterrupted delivery of Healthcare services when the next natural disaster strikes,” said Donna Proske, Executive Director of Staten Island University Hospital.

“Community Board 2 is proud to partner with the Hunts Point Lifelines design team, with the management of the three wholesale markets, with our outstanding community-based organizations like The Point, Sustainable South Bronx, Rocking the Boat, HPEDC, and Mothers on the Move on implementing a visionary, inclusive, and robust plan to protect our community from the effects of climate change,” said Ralph Salamanca, District Manager of Community Board 2.

“The New York City Environmental Justice Alliance and our member organizations, such as THE POINT CDC, have been working to promote climate adaptation and resiliency in Hunts Point and other neighborhoods in the South Bronx and beyond that are impacted by disproportionate environmental burdensm” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “Hunts Point Lifelines has successfully created a planning framework to address issues of equity in its approach to reduce neighborhood vulnerability, while working in partnership with South Bronx communities. Today, with the Mayor's commitment to leverage the original investment, the communities that live and work in the South Bronx are taking an important step toward a more sustainable and resilient industrial waterfront.”

“The restoration of the Sawmill Creek Marsh on Staten Island will address an important priority of our Comprehensive Restoration Plan,” said Robert Pirani, Director of the NY-NJ Harbor & Estuary Program at the Hudson River Foundation. “It is significant that the project will help finance New York City's first wetland mitigation bank, which will provide another tool for public agencies to regulate and manage New York's critical wetland resources.”

“THE POINT has worked collectively with community-based, business, labor and environmental justice partners to advocate for investment in a sound resiliency strategy that benefits all stakeholders through the RBD/Hunts Point Lifelines Process, “said Kellie Terry Sepulveda, Executive Director of The Point CDC. “We see an opportunity with the city’s funding match to further develop a comprehensive strategy for Hunts Point and the South Bronx that moves beyond a quid pro quo approach that has historically forced us to choose between economic development and our health towards an innovative and economically just community investment that delivers living wage jobs, a cleaner environment and protects New York’s Food Supply for all. We are excited to see the Mayor's commitment to leveraging the investment in Hunts Point that the community worked so hard to gain through the RBD process. We look forward to continuing to work with the city and all of our partners to ensure an equitable, transparent and accountable process for all stakeholders that will protect the future of Hunts Point and create a more resilient New York.”

“What great news! This plan to divert damaging flood waters will bring about a calming sense of relief to many in our community who have been saddled with a subliminal sense of foreboding that flooding devastation like what happened during Sandy could happen once again, “said Pamela Pettyjohn, President of The Coney Island Beautification Project. “Bioswales and tree bed plantings are not only functional but they are also beautiful. Beauty as well as resiliency is important to Coney Island Beautification Project, Inc.”

“The $15 million investment in Coney Island’s commercial corridors is crucial to the overall health of the area’s small businesses,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, these infrastructure enhancements will go a long way in supporting thousands of jobs in Coney Island, ensuring the viability of local businesses and the vibrancy of the neighborhood for years to come.”

“The Staten Island Economic Development Corporation is excited about the announcement of $12 million in CDBG funding for the restoration and improvement of Saw Mill Creek. The waterway is located within the newly created West Shore Business Improvement District and strengthening the wetlands and promoting adaptive re-use will help prevent future storm damage and allow for businesses in the area to thrive while promoting environmental sustainability,” said Steven Grillo, First Vice-President of the Staten Island Economic Development Corp.

“For members of my congregation and community, the decision by the administration to address the needs of our community for housing and jobs provides a huge sense of hope. We are very excited to know that our community members are going to have an opportunity to gain meaningful careers with dignified wages and benefits. For members of my church like Teresa Surillo, rental assistance during reconstruction allows her and her family to take the final steps in having their home and their lives rebuilt without economic disaster,” said Fr. Fulgencio Gutierrez, Pastor of St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Far Rockaway.

“Addressing the needs of people in our community that are being displaced for reconstruction is a great relief and provides a sense of hope for people to look forward to positive changes in their lives when they will finally be able to move back into their permanent homes. This has been a great cry and a great burden for our families, so the steps the city has been taking will make a huge difference in the Rockaway community and around the city. Having folks in our community qualified and trained to join trade unions and have high quality long term careers is a huge step forward. Our community is desperately looking for secure jobs at family sustaining wages, and we want to thank the administration for taking this innovative step forward,” said Rev. Arthur Davenport, Pastor of First Church of God Church in Far Rockaway.

“We are very happy to hear that there will be a rent assistance program that will help homeowners pay their rent while they are going to be living elsewhere during the reconstruction of their home. This has been a trying time for our family as well as other Brighton Beach residents and this program will give many Hurricane Sandy victims much help and security,” said Maritza DeJesus and Rafael Rodriguez, residents of Brighton Beach.

“The Alliance for Coney Island is grateful for the funding that is being allocated to the Coney Island community. We applaud the efforts of Mayor Bill de Blasio, local elected officials and involved city agencies toward the continuing revitalization of Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy. This new funding will create improvements for residents and businesses, and enhance our infrastructure as we create a more resilient, economically successful Coney Island. The Alliance for Coney Island looks forward to continue collaborating with city agencies, nonprofits, businesses and residents to fully restore our unique neighborhood,” said Johanna Zaki, Alliance for Coney Island, Executive Director.

“The funding of the wetlands mitigation bank and the start of the innovative MARSHES program is a win-win-win for the City – the restoration of ecologically important wetlands, increased resiliency for Staten Island and a new more efficient tool to help vital maritime businesses negotiate the permitting process. Bravo!” said Roland Lewis, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.

“The City’s commitment of $15 million for infrastructure and resiliency for the Rockaway is incredible news.  As we continue to recover from Sandy, this  $15 million added to the $8.2 million from the State's NY Rising gives us new hope for job creation, a community that is better protected from future storms and a brighter future for our residents,” said Dolores Orr, Chairperson of Community Board 14

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio for his unwavering commitment to building a stronger, more resilient and sustainable city,” said Marcia Bystryn President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “The Sawmill Creek wetland mitigation bank, in particular, is the first of its kind in NYC. It represents the repair of important green infrastructure to protect Staten Island residents as well as an innovative path forward in financing broader wetland restorations across NYC.”

“Sustainable South Bronx is very encouraged by the City's new commitment to the resiliency of Hunts Point, a neighborhood whose businesses and residents are extremely vulnerable to major weather events,” said Michael Brotchner, Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx. “This investment, in combination with HUD's support through the Rebuild by Design process, will promote the implementation of measures that the community truly needs.”

“This feels like a Holiday miracle!  The largest missing factor in the program was the lack of assistance for homeowners to move out of their houses while they were being rebuilt or reconstructed.  I am so relieved for our residents that this is going to be addressed. Kudos to those in charge for getting this initiated,” said Jameson Wells, Executive Director of the Gerritsen Beach Long Term Recovery Project, GB Cares Inc.

“We, the Midland Beach Civic has always been aware of the difficulties that homeowners have had to endure, paying mortgage and rent.  We are very happy to hear that help is finally on the way and applaud the powers that be for helping not only our community, but all Sandy affected communities.  This is wonderful news and it has our full support,” said Yasmin Ammirato of the Midland Beach Civic Association.

“As President of the Board of Sea Gate Association I am happy to hear that the displaced families of Sea Gate will benefit from this new round of funding. Many of these families are carrying the huge burden of still paying a mortgage while also renting an apartment. This assistance will go a long way to provide a little bit of cheer during this holiday season. The 400-plus families of Sea Gate in the Build It Back program need all the help they can get after the damage they suffered due to Hurricane Sandy two years ago,” said David Wynn, President of the Board, The Sea Gate Association.

“The New Dorp Beach Civic Association is in full support of a portion of the tranche three funding to be used for rental assistance for homeowners registered for construction through the Build It Back Program. Since being displaced from their home, many homeowners are dealing with the tremendous financial burden of paying a mortgage and rent. Others will incur the same financial hardship, while their home under goes the elevation process in the coming months. This program will help keep our community together and mitigate the risk of foreclosures,” said Nicole Romano, President of the New Dorp Beach Civic Association.

“Our Organization is in full support of part of this tranche of funding be allowed to be spent for rental assistance for Sandy affected homeowners. While construction is going on these homeowners have to continue to pay their mortgages, property taxes, homeowners insurance and flood insurance just to name a few. In some instances, while the raise is taking place, if they are lucky enough to be home already, they have to leave.  In other instances the City of New York's Department of Buildings had to red tag homes due to structural issues and they cannot be in their homes. As it is over 2 years since the disaster we know as Sandy hit, many are unable to keep up with the costs.  It is imperative that these people get relief so we can assist NYC and in particular Staten Island get back on their feet.  We do not want to see entire neighborhoods wiped out to foreclosures.  It does us no good and the trickle down effect for the economy could be devastating,” said Dee G. Vandenburg, President, Staten Island Taxpayers' Association, Inc.

“We at the Shorefront YM-YWHA want to thank the Build it Back program and the staff of the NYC Housing Recovery Office for hearing the overwhelming financial concern of our families facing temporary dislocation during the rebuild or elevation of their homes.  The provision of such needed financial resources will truly enable many more families move forward in their housing recovery process.  We look forward to our continued work with the Build it Back Program to help our Sandy-impacted coastal communities successfully rebuild and recover,” said Susan Fox, Executive Director of the Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, Inc.
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