Borough President Melinda Katz praised the progress the citys Sandy recovery program has made in recent months, saying that 60 percent, or 2,389 out of the 3,962 Queens homeowners in the Build it Back pipeline, have been reimbursed for work they did themselves or have seen construction start.
Construction has now started on 655 homes in Queens, according to numbers provided by Katzs office, 24 percent of the 2,717 borough homeowners who opted to have work done on their homes. That number is up from the 433 who saw work start on their homes as of last May.
The borough president credited much of the increase to the City Council passing the Citywide Flood Resilience Text Amendment, which cut red tape that was blocking work on homes in the recovery system, and the Hurricane Relief Task Force a group of community leaders in Sandy-affected neighborhoods that meets with Katz and representatives of city agencies once a month to discuss issues surrounding storm recovery.
A considerable amount of progress has taken place since Superstorm Sandy, the bulk of which since 2014 under the de Blasio administration, Katz said in a statement. Much work still remains, however, and the Task Force continues to work together in close coordination with full community input.
Dan Mundy Jr., a leader in the Broad Channel community and a member of the task force, praised Katzs work to help those hit by the storm.
Melinda Katz has been, in my view, the single most influential figure to help make the Build it Back program better, Mundy said in an interview.
The community activist explained that in the beginning of Build it Back, while Mayor Bloomberg was still in office, construction lagged and it took months to process storm victims paperwork.
With the task force, Mundy and others can bring their gripes directly to the city agencies and work on a solution.
Now, there are homes going up, homes are being rebuilt, he said. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But now we have a method to fix it.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) in a brief interview said there is a different figure that has to be looked at.
What about the people who are still not in their homes and who are still waiting for help, Ulrich said.