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Thursday, July 30, 2015
NY Rising hears public comment
Residents decry reimbursement system as slow, flawed
By Alexandra Spychalsky
Bill Kelly/Herald
Patricia Dougherty, left, with her mother, Cathy, brother, Patrick, and Robert Wright, all Island Park residents, rallied outside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building last week.

“I’m pissed — I worked three jobs my whole life, and I’m spending my kids’ college funds keeping this afloat,” said Robert Wright, a recently retired New York City firefighter from Island Park. “It really burns me up that here I am, doing the right thing — paying my taxes, working for a living, saving for college — and because of Hurricane Sandy, I’m going to be bankrupt. I just don’t think it’s fair.”

The first floor of Wright’s house remains gutted almost a year and a half after Sandy hit. After years of paying into a $250,000 flood insurance policy, he was given only $30,000 to repair and elevate his heavily damaged home. Almost a year into the NY Rising storm grant program, it has yet to determine if Wright is even eligible for funding. And he is far from alone. A handful of Sandy victims — their tagline “Homeless with a mortgage” — rallied outside the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola on March 5, ahead of a public-comment meeting held by the state.

The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, the state agency in charge of managing and distributing aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, hosted the meeting, a condition of the $2.1 billion of Community Development Block Grant money it was allocated last November by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This second appropriation of Sandy aid money, bringing the total in CDBG funds awarded to New York to $3.8 billion, was meant to help continue to fund the state’s ongoing recovery programs for home and business owners as well as municipalities.

Though an agency representative was on hand, the meeting was not intended to clarify the program or provide answers to people who have been struggling to make progress in the NY Rising program for almost a year. Rather, it was an opportunity for those people to have their opinions, suggestions and problems with the program formally recorded, and eventually responded to in the final draft of the state’s action plan, the proposal it is required to submit to HUD detailing how it will spend the aid money.

Comments

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SamSung

If the firefighter was going bankrupt and loosing money than why did he retire so young? Do other Sandy victims have the right to retire also?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | Report this
Paul3086

Do the other Sandy victims have the same retirement plan? If so, then YES they DO have the right to retire so young, if not then they DON'T. You have the typical, "waa, waa, he gets a pension so young, he should get nothing", attitude that most jealous people do. Of course I'm sure you'd have the same attitude if YOU had the same pension opportunity, right?? Don't like it? Take the test, pass it and get the same pension. All the pure jealousy about police and fire pensions is sickening. And spare me the "pensions are making my taxes so high" nonsense. Most of your taxes are from school taxes, and in the case of this fireman, he works in the city and unless you send your taxes to NYC, his pension doesn't affect you one bit.

Thursday, March 13, 2014 | Report this
LORMAR2003

Chill boys. NY Rising requires a lot of patience and persistence. The process is long and arduous. We are survivors of Irene and Sandy. This is a generous program. It has been developing during this time since Sandy. NYS has accomplished so much. Just look at the process still going on after Katrina; still horrendous. We have not received an accurate assessment yet. I don't know what any of you think but we are veryvgrateful for the help we have received and each day we can stay in our town. Keep in mind that life is not "fair" and we are not "entitled to anything". We are fortunate that the government has chosen to invest in us and our community. Life's a beach." So let's get out and enjoy it while we can.

Friday, March 21, 2014 | Report this
LORMAR2003

Chill boys. NY Rising requires a lot of patience and persistence. The process is long and arduous. We are survivors of Irene and Sandy. This is a generous program. It has been developing during this time since Sandy. NYS has accomplished so much. Just look at the process still going on after Katrina; still horrendous. We have not received an accurate assessment yet but it will come. I don't know what any of you think but we are very grateful for the help we have received and each day we can stay in our town. Keep in mind that life is not "fair" and we are not "entitled" to anything. We are fortunate that the government has chosen to invest in us and our community, in the process of distributing the nation's taxes. Life's a beach." So let's get out and enjoy it while we can. Everything will be settled in time.

Friday, March 21, 2014 | Report this
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