(Christopher Robbins) Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy caused $19 billion in damages and economic losses to New York City, $648 million in federal aid that has been allocated for the city for housing recovery has languished in bureaucracy. According to the Wall Street Journal, only a single person—a woman on Staten Island whose damaged house was purchased by the government this month—has received any of the funding.
"We're racing to get a dollar out the door in time by the one-year anniversary. That's absurd," Brad Gair, the city's director for housing recovery told the paper. "Who's going to stand for that?"
Gair blames the slow pace on a combination of stultifying bureaucracy that arose in federal protocol after Hurricane Katrina, and a system that is not conducive to urgency.
"It's very, very difficult to get this money. It's very hard to explain to people. It's very hard to keep their trust in a process like this," Gair said. "We've got to fix this system."
FEMA has given grants of up to $31,900 to families with damages homes, and Mayor Bloomberg's Rapid Repairs program will have spent $1.77 billion on clearing storm debris and rehabilitating houses. That money is expected to be reimbursed.
Photo Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt