Sandy victims rally for ‘adequate’ NY Rising funding

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Many storm victims like the Reillys say they have yet to receive NY Rising aid, despite the fact that the program was touted as a more flexible and immediate source of funding to help residents get back into their homes.

Reilly was among the more than 100 Sandy victims who rallied outside the Nassau County legislative building in Mineola earlier this month, where they called for fair compensation and chanted, “Show me the money!”

Michele Mittleman, organizer of the group Sandy Victims Fighting FEMA, who organized the rally, said that many residents who have received letters say the money is not what they were hoping for, and that the way the grant is set up prevents them from supplementing it with a Small Business Administration loan.

“They need to do better, and they need to do better quickly,” Mittleman said, adding that residents have yet to see any compensation from the state after Governor Cuomo announced in September that the state would reimburse homeowners whose flood insurance claims were denied due to an “earth movement” provision.

County Executive Ed Mangano told the crowd at the rally that the NY Rising program does not take into account the cost of living on Long Island.

“The government encouraged you to take SBA loans … now they’re holding it against you,” Mangano said. “The lucky few that actually got the money, it’s holding them back. It counts against your rebuilding efforts. The purpose of these programs is to make you whole.”

Reilly said that in order to elevate his home, he needs to build a new foundation, because the soil is not strong enough. He is hoping NY Rising will cover the costs of installing helical piles to elevate, and he is now appealing his grant award.

“NY Rising grants need to be based in reality,” said Reilly.

Last month, government officials announced that a second round of Hurricane Sandy aid money would be available — and should flow more easily — to both homeowners and municipalities in 2014.

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