BROOKLYN - Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a major overhaul to the Build it Back program that has helped nearly 4,000 New Yorkers rebuild since Superstorm Sandy.
De Blasio says there are three priorities: financial relief, engaging the local community and building a stronger New York City. The mayor says some of the ways the city will expedite things is by speeding up the pre-construction process and dedicating inspectors to Build it Back.
The goal is to rebuild 500 homes and send out checks to 500 homeowners who need aid by the end of summer. The announcement gives hope to some Sandy victims who are still struggling to rebuild.
Gerritsen Beach resident Scott McGowan says he and his family are still living in a rental after 5 1/2 feet of floodwater rushed into their house during Sandy. McGowan says he has more than $200,000 worth of damage
He applied for Build it Back 10 months ago, but work still hasn't started. At this point, McGowan says the mayor's changes to the recovery process give him some hope, but he'll believe it when he sees some action.
The head of Gerritsen Beach Cares, a nonprofit focused on Sandy recovery, says there are still hundreds of residents in that neighborhood alone who are still waiting for help from the program.