“Now that this plan is approved, desperately needed dollars can start flowing to the homeowners and business owners who lost so much,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, who, in February, described CDBG-DR as a better stream of funding than the Federal Emergency Management Agency or flood insurance to help eligible residents rebuild. “It is a turning point in our recovery from the storm, but our work won’t be done until houses are totally rebuilt, businesses are reopened and roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure has been repaired, stronger than it was before.”
Approximately 10,000 homes statewide incurred damage estimated at more than half their value, and almost 1,000 families are still living in emergency housing or hotels, according to the state. FEMA conducted 2,755 post-storm home inspections in Long Beach, and determined that 860 homes were “substantially” — more than 50 percent — damaged, and would have to be raised or demolished, according to the city.
The state is administering the funding through NY Rising, which includes the Recreate NY Smart Home Program.
Though some residents expressed relief that the funding was finally being released, they described the registration process as daunting, involving a large volume of paperwork and a form that can take “hours” to complete.
“We tried to fill out the form last Saturday, but the site kept crashing,” said West End resident Anita Daly, whose home was destroyed and who pre-registered for the program two months ago. “We called the [hotline] a couple of times — the woman didn’t know what to do. I don’t think they’re prepared for the overload.
“We were halfway through it when it crashed,” Daly added. “It’s just so frustrating. It’s a really, really long, tedious form. One neighbor of mine said, ‘I can’t take the paperwork anymore. I’m just going to give up.’ She’s just going to sell [her home] and cut her losses.”