The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding brings together labor unions and community, faith-based, environmental and policy organizations to address immediate relief and long-term rebuilding issues in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
We are committed to a just, equitable and sustainable recovery and rebuilding process that makes infrastructure and regulation more equitable, prioritizes transparency and community inclusion, creates new economic opportunity for all New Yorkers –particularly low-income communities and communities of color– and includes a commitment to long-term climate sustainability and the elimination of environmental disparities across communities.
We call for an ongoing response from New York City, New York State, and the federal government that builds climate, economic, housing and infrastructure sustainability together. The world will be watching how our region uses precious rebuilding resources. Together, building on the following principles, we can set new standards of accountability and create a resilient economy. We endorse these principles as the basis for post-storm planning:
Immediate Relief for Our Communities
This includes permanent affordable housing for those displaced by the storm, mold remediation, short-and long-term health care for storm-related illness, repairs and improvements to the public and affordable housing stock, and relief to those who have been left behind because they are excluded from disaster assistance under state and federal law or face insurmountable institutional barriers to assistance.
As public funds begin to move into rebuilding, money must be allocated first to rebuild communities that are hardest hit, and must be used to create economy-building jobs that maintain critical high road job quality and safety standards that employ union labor, pay family sustaining wages, provide opportunities for training and include meaningful benefits.
and Decision-Making Power for Our Communities
Rebuilding and prevention of future disasters cannot be done in the absence of those most impacted by such disasters. We call on the City and State to give affected communities a central role in deciding how funds for rebuilding their neighborhoods are spent, and how to prepare for future crises. There must be a coordinated public engagement initiative that prioritizes democratic planning, transparency and accountability.
Sustainability in a New Climate
New York can create itself as a global model of sustainability and equity –meaning sustainability for all New Yorkers– in the face of the new climate. We urge city, state and federal leaders to take the threat of climate change seriously, and create a bold Climate Response Plan that ensures just, safe and resilient communities. New York must meaningfully build a green workforce that addresses income inequality and unemployment, engaging communities and contractors as equal partners at the policy table.
These are basic building blocks for equitable recovery, and we pledge to uphold them, and will work together in the coming months to insist that our public officials do the same.