Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer made their way out to Red Hook on Tuesday, March 31, to announce the largest FEMA grant in the history of the agency – $3 billion in funding that will be used for the repair and upgrade of 200 NYCHA buildings across the city, including many in Brooklyn that suffered severe damage after Hurricane Sandy.
Slated to begin work this summer in Coney Island, the repairs will include mechanical, electrical and architectural fixes to 33 developments. According to the mayor’s office, half of the funds will be used for repairs while the other half will be put toward resiliency measures to protect the buildings from future storms.
“This investment of $3 billion won’t simply bring NYCHA developments back to pre-Sandy conditions,” said de Blasio, “it will allow us to fortify buildings and utilities so that they’re resilient – and residents are much better protected – next time extreme weather hits.”
The 80,000 tenants in NYCHA housing that were affected by the storm will see repairs to boilers, heating equipment, electrical equipment, replacement of damaged roofing components and installation of flood barrier systems, along with other fixes. The entire process could take up to three years.
“From elevated boilers and standby generators to flood protection, this investment will go a long way for thousands of NYCHA residents,” added de Blasio. “This will affect tens of thousands of people. This will protect them. This will make their lives better.”
Authorized by FEMA’s Alternative Procedures program, the funding will provide a lump sum payment instead of typical incremental funding by FEMA, something that NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye regards as “much-needed.
“[These] FEMA dollars will be put to good use repairing infrastructure and equipment damaged or destroyed in more than 30 NYCHA developments hardest-hit by the storm,” said Olatoye. “More importantly, this federal investment will allow us to become more resilient against future storms.”
“The funding comes at a critical time for our city’s public housing,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “With this welcome news, I am more confident than ever that Brooklyn and New York City are heading in the right direction in protecting its residents and infrastructure against extreme weather.”
The 33 developments to receive repairs are: Coney Island Houses, Red Hook West, Red Hook East, Redfern, Hammel Houses, Carey Gardens, Coney Island Sites 4 & 5, Surfside Gardens, O’Dwyer Gardens, Gravesend, Ocean Bay Oceanside, Haber Houses, Coney Island Site 8, Riis II, Metro North, Carleton Manor, Beach 41st, Ocean Bay Bayside, Wald, Gowanus, Riis I, Astoria, Baruch, East River Houses, Smith Houses, La Guardia, Campos I, Coney Island Site 1B, Lavanburg, Rangel Houses, Two Bridges, Campos II and Isaacs.
Councilmember Mark Treyger, who is chair of the Committee on Resiliency and Recovery and who represents Coney Island, said that the funding is a “direct result” of residents voicing their concerns following the storm and bringing to light the “inhumane and deplorable” conditions at the developments.
“Now that we have this funding in place thanks to the devotion of our elected officials, it is imperative that it leads to action on the ground in impacted communities across the city,” said Treyger.