Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
The city says some of the homes most damaged by Sandy are going to have to be bulldozed, but there's a lot of confusion over whose home and where.
WNYC’s Colby Hamilton has reached out to city officials to find out details on what homeowners can expect.
How is the city deciding which houses may need to be razed?
The city’s Department of Buildings is currently evaluating homes in some of the areas that were worst hit by Hurricane Sandy. These homes have already been given red tags from the city, indicating they are too dangerous to be inhabited. City officials estimate there are between 800 and 900 homes that have been red tagged. But they are making it clear they are not tearing down anyone’s home without speaking with them first. The only exception is if the home presents a danger to other buildings or to people if it were to remain standing.
Of the homes that have been given the red tag, how many of these may end up being demolished?
City officials say there are about 200 homes they believe will need to be demolished, but they are in the process of figuring exactly how many. The actual demolition process won’t begin for at least a few weeks.
Will homeowners have a say in whether they lose their home or not?
Absolutely. Once inspectors decide a building should be demolished, homeowners will be notified. Unless an imminent threat, city officials say no home will be demolished without the consent of the owner.
What sort of housing options will be available to those who may lose a home?
As it stands, most if not all of the people who may have their house demolished have already had to find other living options. This may mean they’ve found housing through FEMA or on their own. In the short term, this will likely continue should their home be demolished. But Mayor Bloomberg has appointed Brad Gair as the director of Housing Recovery Operations. He will be looking at long-term options. Officials anticipate announcing a plan soon.