The governor’s decision came after mounting political pressure and a series of public protests locally. Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, was among the lawmakers who attended the protests to speak on flood victims’ behalf.
New York is funding its Superstorm Sandy recovery with a $1.7 billion Community Development Block Grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Over the last few years, we experienced three once-in-a-century storms that wreaked an unprecedented level of devastation in communities across the state,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “While we have made much progress in recovering from Irene, Lee and Sandy, many New Yorkers are still left without a place to call home and limited resources to rebuild due to National Flood Insurance Program regulations.”
The earth-movement exclusion, which was included in the revised National Flood Insurance Program of 2012 and affected hundreds of New Yorkers after Sandy, states, in essence, that flood insurance will not cover a home if its foundation shifts during a storm –– even if floodwaters cause the shift.
The clause was written into the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which altered the NFIP after Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $50 billion in insured losses and wiped out the NFIP’s contingency fund in 2005.
The Weisses said they are “cautiously optimistic” after the governor’s announcement that they should, at least in part, be compensated by the state for their loss. They have not, however, been told how much they might receive, and they said they have lost nearly all hope that their insurance company will provide any money for them to rebuild.
No matter what, David said, he and his wife expect to take on home debt, after having paid off their mortgage. It is a tough burden to bear, he said. David, who is 63, was starting to think about retiring, perhaps to start a part-time consulting business, before Sandy struck. Now he is unsure whether he will ever be able to stop working.
Rebuilding — a costly proposition