Disaster Relief

With a high volume of media coverage in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Good Jobs New York is keeping the spotlight on how government money is proposed to be spent in the rebuilding process. For more information on transparency and opportunities for community involvement, follow us on Twitter @GoodJobsNewYork #EyeOnSandyMoney. Also, let us know how we can adjust this alert to make it better

Keeping an Eye on Hurricane Sandy Recovery Money
Weekly News Round-up: April 24 – May 1

In This Issue

This week’s news

Regional Events

Advocacy Reports

Federal, State & Local Resources

Have you heard?

Good Jobs New York launched a new Eye on Hurricane Sandy Money database to help boost transparency about how much and which government agencies have allocated Hurricane Sandy funds in New York City.

Check it out – and tell us what you think!

Transparency Tip from the Electronic Frontier Foundation

How to Track Government Projects Like a Defense Contractor

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Action Item

Tuesday May 6, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm: New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer holds a Sandy Oversight Hearing, Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11235

Wednesday, May 7, 1:00 pm: The New York City Council Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will hold a hearing “Oversight: New York City’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Relief Business Programs.” If you would like to testify in this hearing, email hearings@council.nyc.ny.us and bring twenty double-sided copies of your written testimony to the hearing.

This Week’s News

Disaster Relief

Today, May 1 FEMA ends its rental assistance program, yet 1,300 households in New York and New Jersey continue to depend on the federal assistance while awaiting state programs to begin allocating relief funds for rebuilding or to find alternative housing, Al Jazeera America and The Wall Street Journal

Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) opposed a proposal to divert Sandy relief aid to a national resiliency competition while substantial need remains locally. The Star-Ledger and Long Beach Herald

Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Southeast Queens, Rockaway, Nassau) along with a bi-partisan group of 13 members of the New York delegation sent a letter to Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan this week urging HUD not to redirect any relief intended for New York until existing need has been addressed. Press Release

ALSO: The Alliance for A Just Rebuilding predicts that 9,500 homes may be in danger of not being rebuilt if HUD directs disaster relief aid to a national resiliency competition. New York Daily News

Only eight small business owners have received funds through the New York City Hurricane Sandy Loan and Grant program, administered through the Department of Small Business Services. Many small businesses took on debt to pay the immediate costs of rebuilding businesses after Sandy, but funds received through this program cannot be used to help pay off debt. DNAinfo

ALSO: The Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will hold a hearing, “Oversight: New York City’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Relief Business Programs.” Wednesday, May 7th 2014 at 1:00pm. For more information, see the New York City Council calendar

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer held the first Hurricane Sandy Oversight Unit hearing in Breezy Point, Queens and took recommendations from the community on aspects of the recovery that need greater oversight. The Bond Buyer

In his notes from the investigation into whether disaster relief was withheld from Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer unless she approved a particular development project, Gov. Christie claims he was not ‘generally’ involved in issues of where aid money was distributed. The Star-Ledger

After a shortage of kosher and halal products in food banks after Sandy, lawmakers included a provision in the farm bill requiring the federal government ensure that food banks are stocked with kosher and halal products. Detroit Free Press

Rebuilding Infrastructure and Resiliency

The Gotham Gazette featured a two-part interview with Dan Zarrilli, director of the newly created Office of Recovery and Resiliency. In part 1 he discusses the de Blasio Administration’s approach to the resiliency plans created under the Bloomberg Administration’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency. Part 2 covers the current status of the proposed ‘Seaport City’ initiative, the city’s home acquisition program and community engagement in the rebuilding.

This Staten Island Advance editorial describes the extreme damage from illegal all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use on newly constructed sand dunes on Crescent Beach in Great Kills, Staten Island.

Managed Retreat, a practice that relocates at-risk coastal communities inland, offers a cost-effective alternative to voluntary buyouts or eminent domain property condemnation. The Atlantic Cities

This blog describes the issue of “Climate Justice” in which low-income communities of color face disproportionate obstacles when attempting to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Environmental Justice in Action

MTA officials expect to reopen the South Ferry station, badly damaged by Sandy, by late 2016 at a cost of around $600 million. NY1

Solar hot water heaters were recently installed at five damaged firehouses in the Rockaways, Queens, improving storm resiliency of the firehouses, saving money and reducing carbon emissions. Switchboard, the NRDC blog

$185 million in federal Sandy relief funds will be spent on a flood-resistant access tunnel to the future Hudson Yards development on Manhattan’s Far West Side. Associated Press via Philly.com

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection proposed the lowest water rate in nine years due in part to resiliency policies that moderate its capital spending. New York Real Estate

The NYU-Langone Medical Center’s emergency facility re-opened after receiving a $50 million philanthropic gift. New York Daily News

Spurred by extensive damage to their New York City facilities during Sandy, Citibank has rolled out a robust three-point climate risk management plan that includes directing $50 billion over 10 years to climate mitigation. GreenBiz.com

A new book, Gotham Unbound, describes how Hurricane Sandy exemplified the danger many cities face when they ignore true water boundaries by infilling wetlands for development. Discover Magazine

Elementary school students planted trees in the Bronx River Forest on Arbor Day, to replace trees that fell during Sandy. DNAinfo


Mayor de Blasio announced the city will immediately expand the federally funded Temporary Disaster Assistance Program to enable more families to apply for rental assistance. TimesLedger

Ocean City, NJ will advise beachfront homeowners on how to appeal newly proposed FEMA flood map designations which may require higher flood insurance premiums, but will not file an appeal as a municipality. OC Today

Changing building codes to help mitigate risk from future storms will increase the cost of rebuilding. AccuWeather.com

At the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation conference, New York City Mayor de Blasio again promised to rebuild every Staten Island home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Staten Island Advance


List your upcoming event here! Email elizabeth@goodjobsfirst.org

Upcoming deadlines
Wednesday, May 7: Responses due for the Request for Proposals for the Enterprise Community Partners Capacity Building Grants Program. The RFP application materials are posted online. Organizations may apply for up to $150,000 across a maximum of three grant program areas. Awards will be announced beginning July 7, 2014.

Regional Events
Ongoing, citywide: New York Free Disaster Assistance Legal Clinics.

Thursday, May 15, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Superstorm Sandy Free Legal Clinic from the Volunteer Lawyers for Justice. Recovery Information Center, Moonachie Presbyterian Church, 221 Moonachie Road, Moonachie, NJ 07074.

Friday, May 23, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. – Flood Resilient Code. Part of the Enterprise Community Partners 2014 Resiliency Speakers Series of panel presentations exploring long-term recovery challenges and opportunities for the multifamily affordable housing infrastructure in New York City and the surrounding region in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Tuesday May 6, 7 pm- 9 pm: New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer holds a Sandy Oversight Hearing, Coney Island Hospital, 2601 Ocean Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11235

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00-3:00: Jubilee Legal Clinic, Coney Island Gospel Assembly, 2828 Neptune Avenue. Visit website for additional hours and information including income requirements.

Advocacy Reports

New York League of Conservation Voters Three Point Action Plan to address New York City’s most pressing environmental and resiliency challenges

Natural Resources Defense Council: Preparing for Climate Change: Lessons Learned for Coastal Cities from Hurricane Sandy. This report analyzes FEMA flood maps to reveal that the maps did not account for 65% of the area that was actually inundated by Sandy.

New York City Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters: The 2014 Rebuild Environment: NYC Voluntary Rebuild Capacity Assessment report; a comprehensive assessment of the NYC voluntary sector’s rebuild capacity in response to Superstorm Sandy.

Center for an Urban Future: Caution Ahead: Overdue Investments for New York’s Aging Infrastructure

Alliance for a Just Rebuilding: Weathering the Storm: Rebuilding a More Resilient New York City Housing Authority Post-Sandy.

Future-Proofing Cities: A report from the U.K. Department for International Development and University College London looking at the risks and opportunities for inclusive urban growth in developing countries. 129 cities, 5 urban types and over 100 practical solutions, statistics and analysis.

Field Guide Set & Trainings For Engaging Faith Communities from the National Disaster Interfaiths Network

The International Economic Development Council released Case Studies in Small Business Finance Following a Disaster, a report of six case studies of effective long-term economic recovery efforts of disaster-affected communities.

Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, Inc.: Real Affordability: An Evaluation of the Bloomberg Housing Program and Recommendations to Strengthen Affordable Housing Policy

Alliance for a Just Rebuilding: How Sandy Rebuilding Can Reduce Inequality in New York City

Rutgers University: Overlooking Oversight: A Lack of Oversight in the Garden State is Placing New Jersey Residents and Assets at Risk.

Ceres report: Cool Response: The SEC & Corporate Climate Change Reporting: SEC Climate Guidance & S&P 500 Reporting – 2010 to 2013.

Brooklyn Communities Speak: An Action Guide for Local Decision-Makers Post Sandy. This report from the Brooklyn Community Fund and coalition partners analyzes conditions in six coastal Brooklyn neighborhoods post-Sandy, with recommendations for government agencies on how to address persistent recovery challenges while building resiliency in partnership with local communities.

White Paper prepared by Queens Legal Services: Homes Underwater: Forebearance Alternatives for Sandy-Affected Homeowners

Superstorm Research Lab: A Tale of Two Sandys. This whitepaper, based on interviews with a broad range of Sandy-impacted individuals and aid organizations in New York City, sheds light on the inequalities entwined with Sandy’s aftermath and recommendations for addressing inequality.

New York City VOAD Volunteer and Construction Committee Resource Guide: This list includes voluntary organizations providing rebuild services in New York City.

New report from the Municipal Art Society: All hands on deck: Mobilizing New Yorkers for a Livable and Resilient New York

New Jersey’s Fair Share Housing Center documents its concerns that African Americans and Latinos are being rejected from Sandy relief at higher rates than Caucasians. Fair Share Housing Center Blog

Parsons Brinckerhoff produces The Sandy Disaster Awareness Report, a summary of key developments and funding priorities in the region affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Day Labor, Worker Centers & Disaster Relief Work in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. This report discusses the challenges that workers faced during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the role that worker centers played to protect the health and safety of workers in New York and New Jersey.

Hurricane Sandy Fall 2013 Update: FEMA Assistance Analysis. Enterprise Community Partners examines the level of need and the response efforts in New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy. This brief includes data related to FEMA inspections of those who registered for assistance and the amount that had been awarded to those with assessed damage.

Hurricane Sandy: Housing Needs One Year Later. Enterprise Community Partners provides a summary of early findings from a survey of storm victims to measure the ongoing impact of Hurricane Sandy, one year after the storm.

For more advocacy resources, visit Good Jobs New York’s Keeping an Eye on Hurricane Sandy Recovery Money

Federal, State & Local Resources

One City, Rebuilding Together: A Report on the City of New York’s Response to Hurricane Sandy and the Path Forward.

The Program Management Office of the Hurricane Sandy Task Force released its monthly report [pdf] on how 19 federal agencies have so far spent funding from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides an assessment of state and local health emergency preparedness, including an evaluation of the response to Hurricane Sandy.

Online briefings from World Care Centers on disaster volunteer training for communities.

Information on New York City’s Community Emergency Response Teams [pdf], along with an application for their 10-week training program.

The Brooklyn Recovery Fund has compiled this guide to navigating the public comment process for city and state CDBG action plans.

Crowdsourcing ideas for FEMA – Help FEMA plan for disasters. Join and submit your ideas to their crowd-sourced feedback community and vote on others’ ideas.

New York Rising Year End Report. Includes accounting of mass transit investment, reform of Long Island Power Authority, and projected storm recovery and rebuilding costs.

The US Army Corps of Engineers released its Hurricane Sandy Coastal Projects Evaluation Study

A helpful visual guide to the agencies and key decision-makers distributing federal disaster relief funds.

New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program Community Mapping project has posted interactive online maps for six New York Rising communities in New York City. The public is encouraged to provide feedback on their community’s plan. Final Community Reconstruction Plans are due by March 31, 2014.

FEMA has released its preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs); see also FEMA’s guide of Frequently Asked Questions on the new maps.

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Hurricane Sandy Immigrant Outreach Initiative Report on efforts to address the needs of immigrant New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City (a private 501-c3) released an update of how the funds it raised for Sandy aid has been allocated.

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce released a Disaster Preparedness Checklist for small businesses.

Next City, a weekly urban affairs publication, is launching a new the Resilient Cities series, which will focus on preparation and resiliency planning for disasters in urban areas around the world.

FEMA’s Hurricane Sandy: One Year Later provides updates on recovery efforts, a timeline and other resources.

Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force report, Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy: Stronger Communities, A Resilient Region

ALSO: Good Jobs New York provides a critique of the federal Task Force recommendations in a three-part blog series.

Hurricane Sandy: An Assessment of Impacted Commercial Corridors and Recommendations for Revitalization [pdf]. This report by the New York City Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corporation provides an assessment of commercial corridors in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Queens.

For more resources, visit Good Jobs New York’s

Keeping an Eye on Hurricane Sandy Recovery Money

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