New York's "Build It Back" program was launched with much fanfare last June, with nattily attired then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg promising—in two languages—to assign a special representative to each applicant. "They'll be trained to determine your eligibility for the program and to guide you through the process every step of the way," Bloomberg said (see: "New York City to Revamp Sandy Rebuilding Program, Says Mayor," Coastal Contractor 6/10/13).
Good idea—but critics say it's not working, reports Crain's (see: "No homes fully rebuilt under Sandy program," Associated Press). "The city has already been granted $1.45 billion in federal funding for the program and about 20,000 people have applied for rebuilding and repair assistance," Crain's reports. "But as of last week, checks had been mailed to just three homeowners—totaling $100,000—to reimburse them for repair work. And construction has begun on only three homes, none of which has been completely rebuilt."
Critics are blaming the outgoing city administration, not the newly elected Mayor Bill DeBlasio, for the situation. Said DeBlasio's new director of housing recovery, Amy Peterson: "Early missteps, unrealistic assumptions, and overly complicated processes have hindered rebuilding and made it more difficult for residents to resume normal life."