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If yesterday’s weather was any amazing indication, it’s April. It’s also the month when the first wave of Sandy relief dollars–$1.77 billion in total–will filter into New York City from the federal relief package passed by Congress in February. It is a wonderful time of the year for all sorts of reasons.
But, somehow, the situation has already hit its first roadblock. Yesterday, news came that there’s a bit of a regional problem with the relief dollars heading our way.
As we have said before, New York City was awarded millions community development block grants, which are large chunks of cash flow meant to rebuild and retain the downed businesses and homes affected by the storm. However, in the application for these funds, our elected officials decided to (for whatever the reason) ban home- and business-owners from getting money back for damages and repairs. The money will only go toward future development.
That ban doesn’t exist for the separate $1.7 billion Long Islanders will receive. And that major difference is pissing a ton of people off.
In an angry letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Sen. Chuck Schumer demanded that the ban be lifted for reimbursements:
“There needs to be consistency between New York City and New York State’s action plans to ensure that all homeowners in New York can access the same type of assistance. … A homeowner in Rockaway Beach will not be eligible for the same benefit that a homeowner in Long Beach, just 10 miles away, will be able to access.”
And that, of course, is the main problem. If we’re undergoing a proper recovery phase, areas rocked by the superstorm should see no barrier on how exactly they’re receiving monies. That isn’t a groundbreaking statement; it just seems like common sense.
Well, luckily, this policy is not yet definite. Donovan needs to sign off on these proposed plans before anything happens. Also, a city spokesperson reaffirmed that these stipulations are still in their infancy.
So let’s put our charged reservations about Long Island aside for the time being. Deal?