Home Buyout Program Expanded to Sandy-Damaged Ocean Breeze
Speaking to residents at the VFW Labetti Post in Rosebank, Cuomo said the state would offer to buy all 129 homes in the neighborhood for their pre-storm value.
"Communities have come together and said, as a community, they don't want to rebuild, they're too close to the water," Cuomo said. "Basically enough is enough, and they want to sell their homes."
Participation in the state's buyout program — which on Staten Island was previously only offered for
Oakwood Beach — is voluntary, and officials were on hand to give interested residents information on how to apply.
For Charles Mancinelli, 75, whose Buel Avenue home flooded with 6 feet of water during the storm, the expansion of the buyout program is a life preserver.
"If it wasn't for this buyout, I would've lost my home to foreclosure because I can't pay $10,000 a year for flood insurance," said Mancinelli, a retired court officer who lives with his wife. "He just saved us. Everything I worked for all my life, he just saved me from losing it."
Mancinelli, a Staten Island native, and said that many of his neighbors plan to apply for the program, and he plans to use the money to stay in the borough.
Homeowners in the program will be offered additional money if they relocate within the city, Cuomo said.
The program was expanded because of a history of storm damage in the neighborhood, along with requests from residents, who posted large signs pleading for a buyout. Cuomo said the state will look to expand the program to as many other communities as want to participate.
Frank Moszczynski, president of the Ocean Breeze Civic Association, said that many people in the community were happy to be offered the buyout. He added that he, too, plans to apply for the program.
"It's going to give a lot of people a second chance," he said. "I don't want to go through that again. Nobody in my neighborhood wants to go through that again."