The city’s “Build it Back” program is there to assist homeowners and businesses affected by Superstorm Sandy, and is now doing outreach in the East Bronx.
The de Blasio administration has taken charge of the Build it Back program, begun during the Bloomberg-era, and making sure that it works for homeowners and businesses looking to get the shovel in the ground and to work on rebuilding, said administration officials.
In March, the first reimbursement checks were received, and the start of construction using funds obtained through program began, according to the administration. The mayor has committed to 500 construction starts and 500 reimbursement checks distributed by Labor Day, and to working to create local jobs in the process.
Build it Back senior staff members were brought directly to the Pelham Bay community recently, holding office hours by appointment at Community Board 10 three days a week.
“We have set up a temporary office in the Bronx graciously given to us by Community Board 10, to actually process applicants,” explained Amy Peterson, the new director of housing and recovery for the program. “This is so people who have registered for the Build it Back program do not have to go to other centers. They can come here, drop off documents, and we have had people move through the process.”
Peterson visited the CB10 site on Friday, June 13 and met with district manager Kenneth Kearns. Both encourage people to sign up for Build it Back if they qualify.
“The people who Build it Back are currently helping are the people who were enrolled in the program when it first began,” said Kearns. “There was a change in administration, and the program went into hiatus, and now with the de Blasio administration, they are back in full swing.”
A commitment has been made to the people of the Bronx to open Build it Back accounts that had not been serviced, or only partially serviced, and fully service them now, he said.
“Here in Community Board 10, we have people in communities like Edgewater Park, Locust Point, sections of Throggs Neck and City Island who have applied for Build it Back in the past, did not get serviced completely, and now they are getting processed,” said Kearns. “We at CB10 are grateful for that and are happy to partner with them to help people who were adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy.”
Peterson said that she took a tour of Edgewater Park, a shoreline community in Throggs Neck heavily effected by the storm.
She said that typical concerns among the residents she spoke to there were dealing with flooding damage, the need for repair work, and reimbursement if they have done repairs on their own.
More than 200 Bronx residents have registered for the Build it Back program, and they were called and invited to Community Board 10 to meet with a crew of people ready to help. The CB10 Build it Back team is led by site supervisor Anthony Green.
As of Tuesday, June 17, 282 reimbursement checks have been distributed around the city through Build it Back, totaling more than $4.25 million. There were no checks distributed through the program at the end of Dec. 31, 2013, according to city records.
For more information about the program, visit www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1255/nyc-build-it-back.
You can also call the Community Board 10 office at (718) 892–1161.