|By JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press|
The milestone for the Build It Back initiative — 500 construction projects started and 500 reimbursement checks sent by
"I think it's working, and we're going to keep making it work better," he said this week.
The city readily surpassed its goal for checks. But the construction component, which sends city-paid contractors to do needed work, has been more challenging: It counted 411 construction starts as of Tuesday, the most recent figures available. Officials have said many other projects were on the verge of starting, and they said Friday they were confident they would hit 500.
Two summers after Sandy's floods, the toll is still visible at Teresa Surillo's home in the Rockaways. The retired nursing home kitchen worker and her husband did what repairs they could afford with their slim resources and
They applied to Build It Back early on, navigating repeated requests for more information and long stretches of silence.
"We just hope something can be done,"
De Blasio announced the 500-homes goals in April. He eliminated income categories that had held up some applications because others were prioritized, assigned city
After getting only a few thousand dollars in insurance payouts to fix her flooded
"Once they did, I took off running," the bookkeeper said this past week, with work underway on her ground-floor bathroom and other problems.
While Monday's benchmark may be modest compared to the overall need, "it's a huge number compared to zero," city housing recovery chief
While giving the administration credit for setting a responsive, reinvigorated tone, local officials greet it with tempered optimism. "There has been a major improvement," but there also are thousands of homeowners still waiting for results, said City Councilman
Enduring frustrations with red tape and timeframes have bubbled up at some community meetings this summer; 1,000 people packed one organized by community advocacy group Faith in
A mile away,
But he's glad for other work the program will do.
"I'm very hopeful," he said. "It's moving in the right direction now."
|Copyright:||Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.|