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Rental Assistance and Guaranteed Temporary Shelter for All Sandy-Affected New Yorkers

Nearly six months after Sandy, hundreds of displaced families continue to rely on New York City hotels and on the FEMA housing system. Over one thousand families seeking long-term housing options have also registered in the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development. Twelve hundred of these families are below 30% of Area Median Income (AMI). Still, an unknown number of families  are living with family and friends and very likely in need of rental assistance. New York City has proposed a voucher program for rental assistance for extremely low-income households. However, these vouchers will not help many of the families who are threatened with homelessness by the imminent closure of hotel assistance and disaster evacuation centers on April 30th. And it remains unclear whether these vouchers will be accessible to undocumented immigrants. Read More

Restoring Affordable Housing Units Lost During Sandy

Hurricane Sandy decimated tens of thousands of units of affordable housing in a city that already severely lacked affordable units, particularly for families below 30% AMI. The City administration is grossly underestimating by tens of thousands of units how much affordable housing was lost after Sandy, failing to include informal and unregistered units like basement apartments that were damaged or destroyed. This undercount  of lost affordable housing may cause significant long-term displacement and worsen a crisis that was already evident before Sandy.  To address long-term needs for resiliency and stability, the city must rebuild or replace all affordable housing lost in the storm, and require all new construction to include truly affordable units. Housing is key to communities’ resiliency, and housing is in crisis.

Call to Action

  • NYC must undertake a reasonable estimate of families in need, and include them in the plans for rental assistance vouchers. Until that happens, temporary shelter must remain available to all families.
  • NYC must withdraw its announced April 30th deadline to end hotel assistance for all evacuee families. Families should not be forced to live under the threat of homelessness with medium and long-term solutions are pending.
  • NYC should conduct a true estimate of the affordable housing units lost, including informal units, foreclosures, deferred repairs and others. And it should restore or replace damaged housing, and expand housing for low-income families.
  • NYC must ensure that neither immigration status nor lack of documentation are barriers to post-Sandy housing supports.

April 17, 2014 / Press Releases

Thousands of Sandy Survivors Respond to Mayor de Blasio’s One City, Rebuilding Together Plan

"Mayor de Blasio's plan to create One City, Rebuilding Together is an important step forward. We welcome the city's expansion of rebuilding initiatives at the community and neighborhood level that will empower homeowners and help more residents gain access to good local jobs. Government and community-based organizations must also continue to work together to address the urgent needs of low-income tenants, NYCHA residents, and undocumented immigrants who are among the most vulnerable Sandy survivors still in the grips of crisis and despair. A truly equitable recovery from Sandy must ensure that no New Yorker is overlooked or forgotten," said Nathalie Alegre, Coordinator of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding. Read More

April 10, 2014 / Press Releases

Before de Blasio’s Noon Speech, Sandy Survivors Give Him A Bold Plan to Mark First 100 Days

To mark Mayor de Blasio’s first 100 days in office, thousands of Sandy survivors represented by the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding this morning urged him to implement a bold plan of action on good jobs, affordable housing, and infrastructure. The plan comes in advance of de Blasio's noon speech at Cooper Union, and reflects the views of countless Sandy survivors in the hardest-hit low-income areas of the city: places like Far Rockaway, Queens, the South Shore of Staten Island, and Red Hook and Coney Island in Brooklyn. It is a roadmap to just and equitable rebuilding. Read More

March 31, 2014 / Resource

Testimony before the City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency regarding the Build It Back Program

Testimony of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding before the New York City Council Committee for Rebuilding and Recovery, Committee on Housing and Buildings, and Committee on Environmental Protection regarding the status of the Build it Back program. Read More

March 31, 2014 / Press Releases

Sandy Survivors Tell City How to Improve the Recovery

Today, the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding (AJR), the citywide coalition representing many thousands of Sandy survivors, participated in a major City Council hearing on recovery and resiliency. Leaders from the coalition offered recommendations for how city government can help homeowners and renters, and ensure that federal investments in the recovery create high-wage jobs for New Yorkers. Read More

March 12, 2014 / Press Releases

At City Hall, NYCHA Residents Unveil Big Plans to Strengthen Public Housing and Boost Resiliency after Superstorm Sandy

Today, NYCHA residents, elected officials, and community leaders released a new report to address the fact that, more than sixteen months after Sandy, public housing in the hardest-hit areas is still plagued by mold, building malfunctions, and weakened infrastructure related to the Superstorm. Read More

March 12, 2014 / Resource

Weathering the Storm: Rebuilding a More Resilient NYCHA post-Sandy

This report uses data from 600 surveys, interviews and background research, to reveal some of the major issues that NYCHA residents have faced since Hurricane Sandy, such as slow and inadequate repairs, malfunctioning boilers, mold and a lack of job opportunities. The report offers practical and effective solutions that the new NYCHA Chair and City leadership can use as a roadmap as they partner with community based organizations to assess how to spend Sandy related funds, revise NYCHA’s emergency procedures and consider broader NYCHA reforms. Read More

February 28, 2014 / Resource

Testimony before the City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings regarding Vacant Land left by Sandy

Testimony of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding before the City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings regarding Vacant Properties in New York City: How Many are There and What is the City Doing About Them? Click on the link for the full testimony given by AJR's Policy Coordinator Susannah Dyen. Read More

February 27, 2014 / Resource

Testimony before the City Council Committee on Public Housing regarding NYCHA boilers

Testimony of the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding before the New York City Council Committees on Public Housing and Committee on Recovery and Resiliency regarding Oversight: Provisional Hearing Systems in the Wake of Sandy: How are they working at NYCHA developments and how long will they be in place? Read More

February 24, 2014 / Press Releases

Sandy Survivors Urge Mayor de Blasio to Take Immediate Action on Rebuilding and Recovery in Hard-Hit Areas

Sandy survivors from the hardest-hit low-income communities gathered Monday to urge Mayor de Blasio and his administration to take immediate action on rebuilding, amid mounting evidence that city government has not done enough to help the most vulnerable residents still reeling from the Superstorm. On the steps of City Hall, they released a major new report, How Sandy Rebuilding Can Reduce Inequality in New York City. It highlights concrete ways in which Mayor de Blasio can use billions in federal recovery dollars to fix the Build it Back Program and strengthen low-income communities that were struggling the most prior to Sandy. It shows how city government can combine climate sustainability with the creation of family-sustaining jobs, deeply affordable housing, and improved public housing. Read More

February 20, 2014 / Issue Brief

Hurricane Sandy and Renters: Key Findings and Recommendations

Make the Road New York conducted a survey of 450 Sandy affected renters in the summer and fall of 2013. Renters, rather than moving closer to recovery, are falling further behind. In the mostr striking example of this: The median rent paid by Sandy affected households has increased $200 a month since the storm. That’s an increase of 20%- In 2010 rents across the City only increased 4%. Read More

February 20, 2014 / Press Releases

Sandy Affected Community Members Gather to Highlight Needs of Renters After the Storm

Make the Road New York members, the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding and allies gathered in Staten Island Wednesday to present and discuss findings of research conducted by Make the Road New York that found renters affected by Hurricane Sandy are still struggling to recover: rents increased $200 in the affected areas, representing a 20% increase in less than a year. The previous year, New York City as a whole saw an increase of only 4%. Renters, who are more likely to be low-income and of color than their home-owning counterparts, continue to be displaced, are unable to buy healthy food, and struggle with homelessness and unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions. Read More

January 8, 2014 / Press Releases

Thousands of Low-Income and Undocumented Immigrant Sandy Survivors from New York City Respond to Cuomo’s Affordable Housing Plan Announced in the State of the State Address

Thousands of Sandy survivors from New York City today applaud Governor Cuomo's plan for making affordable housing a priority in the rebuilding and recovery. The housing units must be deeply affordable and accessible to low-income renters and undocumented immigrants in the hardest-hit areas of New York City who were displaced by Sandy and now struggling the most to rebuild. This rebuilding effort is a huge opportunity to tackle inequities that existed long before Sandy, and to ensure that the creation of affordable housing produces living wage jobs for local residents who urgently need them. A truly equitable rebuilding must prioritize the needs of economically vulnerable New Yorkers and leave no one behind Read More

November 26, 2013 / Press Releases

Growing Calls for More Oversight of Sandy Recovery Spending

Amid escalating concerns about waste, fraud, abuse, and wage theft in Sandy recovery spending, the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding (AJR), Public Advocate-Elect Tish James, City Council members, community leaders, and Sandy survivors today pushed for passage of legislation that would create an online database to track where and how Sandy funds are spent. The broad support for the Sandy tracker legislation was on full display at a lively City Hall rally and City Council hearing attended by a diverse array of leaders, organizations, and workers. Read More

October 30, 2013 / Media Coverage

Public Housing Residents Relying on Agency Still Recovering From Storm

A year after the storm, the food line is one of many reminders of the persistent vulnerability of New York City’s public housing and the hundreds of thousands of people who live in the projects. There are the unrepaired leaks and the recurring mold in apartments, and in the ground-floor units that remain empty and uninhabitable. There is the unreliable heat from portable boilers, and the sinkholes that keep some playgrounds closed. Read More

October 29, 2013 / Press Releases

After Sandy, Concern About a Tale of Two Recoveries

Statement from the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Read More

October 28, 2013 / Press Releases

Hundreds Call for an Equitable Rebuilding at Large Sandy Anniversary Event at City Hall

Hundreds of low-income residents, immigrant families, and their allies from outer borough communities hit hardest by Sandy marked the one-year anniversary by calling on the next mayor to prioritize an equitable rebuilding. Sandy exposed big inequities across our city, and participants in this massive rally, organized by the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding (AJR), urged the next mayor to support 5 key equitable rebuilding priorities: good jobs, affordable housing, sustainable energy, community engagement, and strong healthcare. Read More

October 1, 2013 / Press Releases

Bloomberg Urged to Extend Deadline for Build it Back Program

Today, the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding called on Mayor Bloomberg to extend the deadline for the Build it Back program. The deadline to register is by the end of today, September 30th, but many individuals eligible for the program who are struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy haven't yet applied and need more assistance before they can register. Read More

October 1, 2013 / Media Coverage

City Extends Deadline to Register For Sandy Rebuilding Program, By Katie Honan, October 1, 2013. The deadline to register for Build It Back, the city's program to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy, has been extended to Oct. 31 — after an influx of new interest during the past two weeks, it was announced Monday. Brad Gair, the director of the Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery Operations, announced the extension on Monday, which was the original deadline for the program. Read More

September 30, 2013 / Media Coverage

De Blasio fuzzy on Sandy fund use

The New York Post, By Beth DeFalco, September 30, 2013. Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio told residents of the Sandy-ravaged Rockaways Sunday that he’d use the billions of dollars in federal funds meant for rebuilding homes and businesses to “right greater wrongs.’’ De Blasio gave few specifics, but said he’d create affordable housing and community health centers in the city’s storm-ravaged areas. Read More

September 30, 2013 / Media Coverage

Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Program Extended by One Month

The Epoch Times, By Kristen Meriwether, September 30, 2013. Hours before it was set to expire, the deadline for the Hurricane Sandy rebuilding program called NYC Build It Back was extended by one month. “With an influx of new registrants in the past two weeks, we are extending the deadline so that more New Yorkers have the opportunity to sign up for NYC Build It Back,” Brad Gair, director of the New York City Office of Housing Recovery Operations, said in a statement. Read More

September 29, 2013 / Press Releases

Bill de Blasio Tours Sandy-Ravaged Far Rockaway, Discusses Bold Ideas for Rebuilding a Just and Equitable City

In advance of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Bill de Blasio toured areas of Far Rockaway, Queens that are struggling to rebuild. He committed to working with Faith in New York and AJR on concrete plans for investing funds in the creation of living wage jobs with local hiring and training requirements in hard-hit communities. He also said he would invest Sandy rebuilding funds to develop new affordable housing in low-income areas like Far Rockaway, where many affordable housing units were destroyed by the hurricane last fall and remain uncounted. Read More

September 29, 2013 / Media Coverage

De Blasio Details Sandy Recovery Plan

The Epoch Times, By Kristen Meriwether, September 29, 2013. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg released his administration’s rebuilding and resilience plan in June, it was a comprehensive report over 400 pages long. But Bloomberg conceded that the next mayor, not him, who would be in charge of putting the plan into action. Read More

July 31, 2013 / Press Releases

Sandy-Impacted Communities Unveil New Rebuilding Plan for Next Mayor, Turning the Tide Away from Inequality Toward Justice

Today a procession of New Yorkers, accompanied by music and visuals capturing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, marched from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to City Hall to release a plan on post-Sandy rebuilding for the mayoral candidates to adopt. The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding released a major new rebuilding plan developed by people working and living the communities hit the hardest by Sandy. Read More

July 31, 2013 / Resource

Turning the Tide: How Our Next Mayor Should Tackle Sandy Rebuilding

  At a time of rising poverty and inequality, the stakes for the future of New York City’s most vulnerable communities—and our next mayor—couldn’t be higher. $1.7 billion in federal aid dollars have started flowing to New York City (with billions more on the way), and the Bloomberg administration has constructed a blueprint for rebuilding […] Read More

July 24, 2013 / Press Releases

Sandy Legislation Will Help Vulnerable New Yorkers Rebuild and Create a Stronger, Better City for the Future

The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding today praised the City Council for passing a package of legislation that will help protect and strengthen the most vulnerable New Yorkers in the communities hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. Read More

July 9, 2013 / Resource

Memo to HPD on Meeting Housing Needs

Sandy wrecked homes and displaced thousands of New Yorkers from their home communities, deepening an affordable housing crisis that had already pushed New Yorkers into precarious and economically disruptive housing arrangements. While there have been many efforts to assess and catalog the extent of damage and the number of people affected by the storm there are some important data sets that are not only missing but impeding individuals’ and communities’ recovery. In this memo, presented to staff from NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) at a meeting on July 9th, 2013, AJR identifies main challenges in meeting housing needs of displaced populations and proposes concrete policy solutions. Read More

June 20, 2013 / Resource

PARTNER RESOURCE: Testimony of Coalition for the Homeless and The Legal Aid Society on Sandy Legislative Package

Testimony of Alliance for a Just Rebuilding member organizations Coalition for the Homeless and The Legal Aid Society on the City of New York's plan for the provision of shelter and other vital services during emergency conditions and the City of New York's provision of shelter and other emergency services for people displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Testimony was presented in front of the Committee on Public Safety of the New York City Council on June 20, 2013. Read More

June 20, 2013 / Resource

Official Comments on Sandy Legislative Package in front of NYC City Council Committee on Public Safety

Testimony presented to the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety at a Public Hearing on the Package of Legislative initiatives regarding post-disaster emergency management and relief services on June 20, 2013. Read More

June 20, 2013 / Press Releases

To Strenghten Important Sandy Legislation, the New York City Council Should Require OEM to Do More for Displaced New Yorkers and Vulnerable Communities

The Alliance for a Just Rebuilding today praised the City Council for holding a hearing on important Sandy rebuilding legislation, and presented several key ways to strengthen the package of bills under discussion. AJR strongly recommended requiring the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to do more to help displaced New Yorkers, including undocumented residents, and to ensure that disaster planning efforts involve the hardest-hit communities. Read More

June 13, 2013 / Media Coverage

Bill Thompson Lays Into NYCHA Chair John Rhea, Calling For His Firing

The Daily News, By Erin Durkin, June 13, 2013. Mayoral hopeful says he's had "enough" of NYCHA chair John Rhea, whose firing he demanded Thursday. "Enough, just, it's enough," Thompson told the crowd at a mayoral forum focused on Hurricane Sandy recovery. Thompson called for Rhea's head citing as the last straw what he called a failure to prepare for federal funding cuts, which officials warned could lead to hundreds of layoffs, but Thursday night he ticked off a long list of grievances with the public housing boss. Read More