Downtown

Adams urges landlords to rent to Sandy victims

February 11, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Borough President Eric Adams says “We are One Brooklyn, and we look out for our neighbors in need.” Photo courtesy of the borough president’s office

Superstorm Sandy victims who are rebuilding their damaged houses are greatly in need of temporary housing, according to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who issued an urgent appeal on Feb. 10 to landlords to open their hearts, and their apartments, to hurricane survivors.

Adams was joined by Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-parts of Bensonhurst) and by officials from the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery at a Borough Hall press conference Wednesday to make an appeal to property owners to rent apartments to Sandy victims.

“We are One Brooklyn, and we look out for our neighbors in need,” Adams said. “For victimized homeowners still looking to recover from the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, it is critical that we find landlords willing to open their apartments, and their hearts, for this greater rebuilding effort. I am committed to working with Build it Back to assist in this search, including specialized outreach to our faith community.”

Build it Back is the city program that assists homeowners and business owners to rebuild.

Landlords are reimbursed by the city up to a certain amount for renting apartments to Sandy victims who are enrolled in the Build it back program.

“Many New Yorkers displayed a true compassion and generosity during and after Superstorm Sandy in doing their part to help their neighbors,” said Treyger, chairman of the council’s Committee on Recovery and Resiliency. “Now, we are appealing to New Yorkers again as we make a final push to finish rebuilding homes damaged by Sandy’s devastation. It is imperative that we find housing opportunities for storm victims still in need of temporary relocation.”

Stat Sen. Roxanne J. Persaud (D-Canarsie-Bergen Beach-Sheepshead Bay) said New York City homeowners “should not have to worry about where they will live because their homes are damaged as a result of a natural disaster.”

The appeal from Adams, Treyger, Persaud and other officials took place as Build it Back entered into negotiations with a new temporary housing service provider in an effort to offer relocation resources to residents of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

In June, Build it Back, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and the New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) launched a privately funded Sandy Temporary Rental Program to provide housing assistance for homeowners. Administered by NYDIS and funded by the American Red Cross, Robin Hood Foundation, the Building Trade Employers’ Association, the Salvation Army and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the program operates in conjunction with Build it Back’s Temporary Relocation Assistance program.

Build it Back has raised more than 100 homes citywide, started construction on 2,441 houses and finished construction on 1,496 homes, according to Adams, who said those figures include 815 housing starts and 503 completed rebuilding projects in Brooklyn.

Mayor Bill de Blasio previously announced that he has set a goal of completing the rebuilding process by the end of this year.

In an effort to broaden its reach, Build it Back is working with the Borough President’s Office of Faith-Based and Clergy Initiatives to appeal to congregations throughout Brooklyn to ask congregation members to reach out to landlords.

The outreach will include religious institutions in Bergen Beach, Brighton Beach, Canarsie, Coney Island, Flatlands, Georgetown, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Red Hook, Sea Gate and Sheepshead Bay.

 “The mayor set the target of completing the program by the end of the year and we are moving forward to make that happen. To bring the program to the finish line, we are taking a multi-pronged approach to providing temporary housing for homeowners. Today, we appealed to Brooklyn landlords to step up and help their neighbors,” said Amy Peterson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery. 

Brooklyn landlords can call Build it Back at 212-615-8329 for information. In the past month, 16 landlords have stepped forward citywide, officials said.