New York City's "Build It Back" program, intended to replace or repair housing destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy, is still struggling to post decent results, four years after the catastrophic storm struck the city on October 29, 2014. The program's website (see: "Welcome to NYC Housing Recovery") states, "Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in October 2015 that the Build it Back single-family home program will be complete by the end of 2016." This month, however, the Mayor had to admit that the program is nowhere close to achieving that objective.
The Daily News covered the story on October 20 (see: "Mayor de Blasio admits he can't fulfill promise to complete construction on thousands of homes ravaged by Hurricane Sandy before end of year," by Erin Durkin). "De Blasio pledged that the Build It Back program would finish all its work by the end of 2016 — but not all homes will have construction finished by then, and some will not even have it started by the time the year is out, according to a new report from the mayor’s office," the paper reported. "De Blasio did not set a new deadline to finish the troubled program, which had not started work on a single home when he took office."
The program is massively over budget as well as behind schedule, the Daily News noted: "The city recently said that Build it Back, which was supposed to be fully funded by the feds, has ballooned $500 million over budget. City taxpayers will have to make up the difference. The city plans to take federal money that was devoted to storm protection and resiliency projects and instead use it for housing, with the city capital budget paying for the resiliency projects instead."
New York magazine covered the story here (see: "The City’s ‘Build It Back’ Program to Repair Sandy-Damaged Homes Will Miss Its Deadline," by Jen Kirby). "The mayor wrote, in a letter attached to a Build It Back progress report, that he and his team 'take personal responsibility' for falling short of the goal," New York reported. "According to the report, 90 percent of Build It Back homes have started rebuilding, and work will begin on the remainder before the end of the year. Construction on 75 percent of homes will be complete before 2017."
"The mayor’s admission isn’t really much of a surprise," New York noted. "Critics, including elected officials, had chided de Blasio’s timeline from the start, calling it impossible to meet. Mayor Michael Bloomberg assembled Build It Back in 2013; it was beleaguered from its start, with application issues and bureaucratic red tape delaying progress. Mayor de Blasio finally overhauled the program last year, but its overly ambitious deadlines put the crunch on homeowners."