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NYCHA Gets $3B FEMA Grant to Rebuild Developments Affected By Sandy

By Jeff Mays | March 31, 2015 6:22pm
 A photograph from November 2012 soon after the temporary boilers were installed at Red Hook Houses following Hurricane Sandy.
A photograph from November 2012 soon after the temporary boilers were installed at Red Hook Houses following Hurricane Sandy.
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NEW YORK CITY—The New York City Housing Authority will receive $3 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair and upgrade 33 developments damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday in Red Hook.

The grant, which is the largest single ever from FEMA, will be used to repair developments damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and to fortify the developments against future storms.

"This grant couldn't come at a better time because the jury has come back on the question of climate change: It's a part of our lives," said de Blasio.

The money will be evenly split between repairs and resiliency efforts such as installing elevated boilers, flood barriers and emergency generators.

More than 80,000 residents of public housing developments in 200 NYCHA buildings near the city's waterways were devastated by Sandy, including the Red Hook Houses where there was no heat, hot water or gas for 22 days, said Schumer.

He said he visited NYCHA developments after the storm and found elderly people trapped 17 stories up with no working elevators, no food and no heat.

"Many residents now are just getting back up on their feet," said Schumer.

The money will be delivered in one lump sum, allowing NYCHA to complete all of the designed repairs without worrying about funding, said NYCHA Chairwoman and CEO Shola Olatoye.

The plan is for repairs to begin this summer in developments from Coney Island to Rockaway and the Lower East Side to the Upper East Side and Harlem.

The repairs will take up to 36 months to complete at all developments.

"This investment isn't just about fixing and replacing, its about building better and smarter for the next generation," said Olatoye.

New play areas, new roofs, electrical systems and security systems will be installed as a part of the repairs and upgrades. Flood barrier systems will prevent lower floors from flooding during future storms.

The FEMA grant is the largest infusion of capital money ever into NYCHA and will go a long way toward helping the agency fix its backlog of needed capital repairs, said Schumer.

NYCHA still has $18 billion in unmet capital needs even with today's funding announcement.

"We had the devastation of Sandy but it gave us the capital to rebuild part of NYCHA better than before," said Schumer.