Press Release

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Advancing NYC’s Resiliency Goals, Historic FEMA Grant Funds Roof Replacement, New Boilers Elevated Above Projected Future Flood Levels, and Other Improvements, including Security Upgrades, at Coney Island Sites 4/5, Benefiting More Than 1,000 Residents

FEMA Grant Funds for Renovations

NEW YORK–– Today, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye broke ground on a $41 million reconstruction project at the Coney Island Sites 4/5 development, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The announcement comes on the heels of last year’s $3 billion Sandy recovery assistance provided by FEMA – the largest in FEMA history. NYCHA’s recovery efforts are complemented by extensive coastal protection and other resiliency measures in place and underway around the city – key elements of Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC $20 billion multi-layered resiliency program.

NYCHA Chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said, “Thanks to FEMA’s unprecedented investment in the future of public housing, NYCHA is getting to work—major work—fully restoring our developments impacted by Sandy. Through this strong collaboration with our City, State, and Federal partners, NYCHA is building back stronger than ever, with large-scale projects across our city that will make our developments more resilient, our neighborhoods safer, and our communities more connected.”

Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director for Climate Policy and Programs and Chief Resilience Officer for the Office of the Mayor, said, “NYCHA residents witnessed some of the worst impacts from Hurricane Sandy, and demonstrated the best of our city in its aftermath. Today's groundbreaking in Coney Island, as part of the largest FEMA grant in history, ensures that NYCHA residents will be safer as we continue to invest over $20 billion through our OneNYC program to build a stronger, more equitable, and more resilient city.”

Coney Island Sites 4/5, a New York City Housing development, which is home to more than 1,000 residents, was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. The $41 million in recovery and resiliency work underway includes a full roof replacement, stand-by generators for back-up power, new electrical systems and flood-protected equipment annexes, new boilers elevated above projected future flood levels, resiliency measures to prevent flooding, upgraded playgrounds and recreational areas and new lighting, security cameras (CCTV) and state-of-the-art security doors (Layered Access Control). Additionally, the Community Center will be comprehensively renovated––the kitchen will be rehabilitated; walls will be refurbished; floors, ceilings, doors, and cabinets will be replaced; the Center will be wired to receive stand-by back-up power in the event of an outage, and will be protected from projected future flood levels with flood panels during major weather events, including storms.

Renderings and a project description can be viewed here. The start of major construction work at Coney Island Sites 4/5 follows NYCHA’s recent groundbreaking on the $67-million FEMA-funded recovery project at Ocean Bay–Oceanside in the Rockaways.

Using the best available science, innovative design and cutting-edge technology, NYCHA is building back stronger than ever (Recovery to Resiliency), transforming its developments into resilient sites that can effectively withstand future weather challenges by repairing and replacing vital infrastructure, flood-proofing to protect against the impacts of climate change, like rising sea-levels, and installing stand-by back-up power generators.

Last year, after three years of negotiations and strong support from New York’s Congressional Delegation and the de Blasio administration, FEMA reached an agreement with NYCHA to provide $3 billion in Sandy recovery assistance. The Coney Island project marks the second of NYCHA’s major public housing recovery and resiliency projects funded by the historic $3 billion FEMA grant to move forward into construction.

To date, more than $400 million in other federal disaster assistance and insurance payments have funded pre-construction work, such as boiler demolition, asbestos abatement and other site preparation and rebuilding, such as renovations of first-floor apartments damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The $3 billion in FEMA funding flows through the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), which will review and approve disbursements to NYCHA. Currently, NYCHA has put project contracts out to bid for FEMA-funded work at Coney Island Houses, Coney Island Site 1B, Astoria Houses, Smith Houses, Carleton Manor, and Rangel Houses.

Resident communications and engagement are priorities in NYCHA’s reconstruction and resiliency efforts, including providing job-training and connections to career opportunities. More than 120 New York City public housing residents have been employed through Section 3 on Sandy-related contracts at NYCHA developments. Section 3 is a federal mandate that requires employment and other economic opportunities generated by federal assistance to public housing authorities to be directed, whenever possible, to public housing residents and other low- and very-low-income residents. In Coney Island, there have been more than 45 Section 3 hires – of which 39 are NYCHA residents. At Coney Island Sites 4/5 specifically, the contractor has committed to hiring 15 Section 3 employees.

All recovery work underway and planned at each Sandy-impacted development can be viewed and tracked through NYCHA’s Interactive Sandy Transparency Map. Additional information can also be found on NYCHA’s Sandy Recovery webpage.

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “The renovations of the Coney Island Surfside buildings at Sites 4/5 mark another step in the major public housing recovery-and-resiliency projects funded by the historic $3 billion FEMA grant we worked so hard to secure when we passed the Sandy Relief Bill in congress. This $41 million federal investment means better living conditions and more security in the face of impending storms for the many families and seniors who call this community home. Improvements include: stand-by generators, new electrical systems, new elevated and other storm-resistant measures. Additionally, improved security measures will be implemented including new security cameras and state-of-the-art security doors. I want to again thank FEMA for providing NYCHA with the largest grant in U.S. history because it means that some of our most vulnerable residents will be living in a stronger, smarter and more resilient community. This announcement is just the next in line of many similar rebuilding and resiliency projects across the city.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, “In partnership with the de Blasio administration and the City Council, I have been committed to recovery and resiliency measures along Brooklyn’s shoreline that will ensure our beautiful borough will be prepared to endure any future extreme weather that hits our way. Thanks to FEMA’s grant, new construction projects focused on everything from flood-proofing to installing back-up generators will help preserve public housing in Coney Island well into our future. Not only does the repair and replacement of our crucial infrastructure empower all of us, it advances economic opportunity for a community still fighting its way back from Superstorm Sandy, a community whose tenacity is a needed inspiration as we face the hard work to come.”

State Senator Diane Savino said, "This a long time coming for the residents of Coney Island. Thanks to a great partnership between, the State, City, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency ground has finally been broken for a $41 Million dollar project that will restore the Coney Island NYCHA developments that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. With the new renovation, buildings will now be equipped with standby backup generators, flood protected equipment and new roofs just to name a few, which I am confident will improve the quality of life for many and ensure in the event of another storm like Sandy, not only will our buildings be properly safeguarded but our residents as well."

Assembly Member Pamela Harris said, “After extensive efforts and intergovernmental collaboration, we are grateful that this vital and historic recovery funding has made its way to Coney Island. Through these projects, we’re going to build safer, cleaner, and even more resilient communities for future generations.”

Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency, said, “It has been a long time coming, but this is a great day for residents of Surfside Gardens and other Coney Island public housing developments where work is scheduled to begin soon. These much-needed upgrades and repairs will have a monumental impact on the safety, security, resiliency, and quality of life for residents here. Together with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, my colleague Council Member Ritchie Torres, and community leaders and activists, we held a historic City Council hearing in 2014, just blocks away at Carey Gardens, which helped secure the $3 billion from FEMA. We made sure that Washington fulfilled its promises to the people of this community after Hurricane Sandy, and now we need to make sure that another promise – local hiring to fill employment opportunities created as a result of this work – is kept, as well.”

Council Member Ritchie Torres, Chair of the Committee on Public Housing, said, “Coney Island was one of the areas hardest hit by Super Storm Sandy and its residents have waited far too long for recovery efforts to be implemented. This new project, made possible by the historic FEMA grant, will ensure that Coney Island Sites 4/5 will be able to endure for future generations. I look forward to continued partnership with NYCHA and FEMA to ensure recovery and resiliency projects throughout NYCHA developments are carried out effectively, and grant money is spent and allocated appropriately.”