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Nonprofit Looking for Gowanus Homeowners Who Need Hurricane Sandy Relief

By Leslie Albrecht | September 19, 2013 8:48am
 Floodwaters in Gowanus on Oct. 29, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on New York.
Floodwaters in Gowanus on Oct. 29, 2012, as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on New York.
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Flickr/Proteus Gowanus

GOWANUS — Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the city, some houses in the neighborhood are still waiting for repairs, but a local nonprofit is looking to change that.

Fifth Avenue Committee is sending a team of volunteers door-to-door this Friday to find people who could qualify for financial assistance from the city's Build It Back program.

The deadline to apply for the funding is Sept. 30, and many people are still unaware that they could qualify for help, said Nega Lakew, housing recovery coordinator with Fifth Avenue Committee.

"I've seen some houses that are still in really terrible condition," Lakew said. "Their floors are ripped out, their walls are still not in place because mold remediation required them to take it all out, and they don't have the money to [fix it]. This program is geared to help people in that situation."

Fifth Avenue Committee has identified as many as 850 mixed use and residential buildings in and around the 100-year flood plain in both Gowanus and Red Hook that could qualify for the Build It Back funding.

The Build It Back money can help people who didn't qualify for FEMA assistance, such as landlords whose rental properties were damaged, Lakew said. Homeowners who already paid for repairs can get reimbursements through the program, he added.

Fifth Avenue Committee offers other Sandy relief as well, including help with mortgage payments, temporary housing for people who were displaced by the storm, and job search help for those who lost their jobs because of Sandy.

To volunteer with the Fifth Avenue Committee Sandy recovery effort on Sept. 20, contact Nega Lakew at nlakew@fifthave.org or (718) 237-2017 ext. 187.