Sandy Victims Skeptical of Cuomo's Home Elevation Initiative

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Farrells are still living in Lynbrook with relatives, as their Freeport home remains uninhabitable 21 months after Sandy. (Annmarie Fertoli/WNYC)

A new, state-funded home elevation initiative from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeks to convince homeowners affected by Sandy to raise the level of their houses. The initiative is an optional extension of the NY Rising program.

Cuomo made the announcement Wednesday, in front of a Freeport, Long Island, home in the process of being elevated. The South Shore community suffered extensive damage during the storm.

The governor said more than 6,500 Long Island homes are eligible for the program and homeowners should take the option seriously. Homeowners within the 100-year flood plain, or that have been certified as significantly damaged by the federal government, are eligible for the plan.

“To think that, well, Sandy came and Sandy went and it’ll never happen again is denial," Cuomo said, "and I think that is inviting disaster again.”

But critics of the NY Rising program say it’s already plagued with extensive delays, confusing bureaucracy, and unresponsive administrators and case managers.

Ann Marie Farrell, who is trying to rebuild her home in Freeport, said she is frustrated. “I am also homeless, still paying a mortgage, still paying taxes,” she said. Farrell is staying with her husband and two children at her mother's house in Lynbrook. “There’s over 500 of us in Freeport that aren’t back.”

“It’s been extremely difficult,” she added. “So when I heard that Governor Cuomo’s standing here around the block from me patting himself on the back that one house in Freeport has been elevated…it’s a sham.”

To date, NY Rising has distributed financial aid to just 8,000 New York homeowners.


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Comments [7]

David from Oceanside

The issues with this program are many. Aside from whats been mentioned in earlier comments, here are some of the bigger issues with raising your home. The plan will cover most cost's associated with raising, but here are the problems:

1. You need to pay for the engineer, site surveys, and all related expenses out of pocket. (they will reimburse)
2. Same for Architect
3. The lower cost of living rent/mortgage will be covered while out of the house, but again you have to layout.
4. If you can find the right builder/home raising company, they will not receive the remaining 50% of the total job cost until after completion. Good luck finding a contractor who will do that.
5. So all you need is about 50K to layout to get started, (all of us affected have very deep pockets after this past 2 years, easy right?)
6. 95% of those affected have moved back home by this point, and either used insurance to renovate or went out of pocket to do so. So now we basically get to re-do a newly renovated home (i am on a slab) nullifying most of the work we spent for already, because the geniuses up in Albany know that most people have had enough and won't go through the time, grief and trouble to raise their homes.

In short the only people who will benefit from this program, are those who are still in insurance limbo, who upon getting a settlement may be able to parlay those funds with the house raising initiative and get it done right from the start. This is all empty promises and posturing, and its just a shame that this was not part of the deal when the vast majority of those affected could have benefitted.

Aug. 02 2014 05:18 AM
William Dillon from Long Beach

I applied for the Opt-In program at NY Rising in March of this year. So far I have had an inspection and that is it. The inspection report was incorrect. It said my house was on a crawl space which is wrong. It is on a cement slab. And the photos attached to the report had pictures of a garage, but not my garage. I figure at this rate of progress I might find out about my house being elevated before the 2016 hurricane season. I was flooded by both Irene and Sandy, and am sure I will be flooded again.

Aug. 01 2014 09:38 AM
L Neumar from East Rockaway, Nassau County

Got an email from Nick Romanelli saying he had my app and would be in touch. That was in May! Called, emailed, no response!!! Emailed and called Cuomo's response. Two years later and I still have an uninhabitable shell of what was once my home, compounded by the fact that there was contamination from a failed nearby sewage treatment plant. So much for politicians and this BS. DUMP CUOMO!!!!!

Jul. 31 2014 10:24 AM
Mary Lou Gartelman from Nassau Co NY

My son and family still not getting anywhere, home to be demolished, still waiting 21 months for permit to knock it down! Friends still waiting, this is a disgrace!!!!!!!!!!!

Jul. 31 2014 08:59 AM

Hi, Teresa. For eligibility questions, you can call 1-855-NYS-SANDY (That's 1-855-697-7263).

Jul. 30 2014 06:40 PM
Teresa from Long Beach

Is this initiative only for the primary residence? My in-laws also have a house away from flood zone but recently found out that the house affected by Irene and then Sandy has a shaky foundation/mold and needs to be tore down. Help! don't know where to go next.

Jul. 30 2014 06:18 PM
lorraine maher from long island ,n.y

my nephews family is homeless while paying a mortgage. they have not slept in a bed since Sandy. the politicians can sprout all their talk but the bottom line is .they still have no home. the funds are not coming in and the red tape gets longer and longer. mismanagement of funds, relatives getting good paying jobs at these help organizations--but the families are still homeless.
not to say we the usa shouldn't have heart but lets take care of our own taxpaying citizens and stop the billions spent everywhere else.

Jul. 30 2014 05:58 PM

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