By Dave Evans
February 24, 2014
Mayor Bill de Blasio asked frustrated New Yorkers for patience on Monday as the city tries to reboot its efforts to help those hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
But on the steps of City Hall, a rally was held for those still struggling to recover, 16 months after Sandy.
They want the mayor to act more quickly, and to fix horribly troubled programs like Build It Back.
“So not only do we have to help those who’ve applied but we have to re-open registration and allow thousands of more people in,” said Democratic City Councilman Mark Treyger.
So far close to 20,000 New Yorkers have applied to the Build It Back program. Only 171 contracts have been approved and there’s been zero construction.
During the same time frame, the state, not the city, has helped 5,100 homeowners. Why is the city so far behind?
“We’re just hoping he acts quickly,” said Bennett Bennett, who urged the mayor to hurry up.
His home, with so many others in the Rockaways, was badly damaged by Sandy. The mayor campaigned there, promising help was on the way.
But Bennett says he is starting to get a little frustrated.
“Listen you know, I voted for him. I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed yet. I would give him the benefit of all these snow storms and everything else. I’m just hoping he acts quickly,” Bennett said.
Monday the mayor met with officials on Staten Island about how to jump start the recovery.
He says he’s now reviewing everything from Build It Back, to perhaps new buyouts.
“I’m going to have to play a very hands on role to fix some of these problems and I’m devoted to doing that. So I don’t blame anyone who’s frustrated,” said de Blasio.
The mayor says he still needs another couple weeks or so to come up with his plan on how to recover from Sandy.
That’s little consolation to thousands of New Yorkers who’ve already waited so long.