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De Blasio announces plan to help New Yorkers recovering from Superstorm Sandy

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The city is reallocating $100 million to homeowners whose homes were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy 17 months ago, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a news conference in the Rockaways this weekend.

Through its NYC Build it Back program, the city will use the $100 million to rebuild all homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, regardless of the homeowner's income or current program prioritization. The funds were previously appropriated for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program.

"Construction has started, the first checks are on the way, and we are making immediate policy and staff changes to further expedite and streamline the process — so that New Yorkers get the help they need now," de Blasio announced on Saturday, alongside Senator Charles Schumer and other elected officials and community leaders.

The city also plans to increase the Housing Recovery Office's staff by 35 percent to roughly 105 staff members, clear outstanding Department of Building permits that have made it harder for some Superstorm Sandy rebuilds and repair to continue and enable homeowners to use their transfer payments for temporary relocation expenses, according to the press release by the Office of the Mayor.

De Blasio also appointed a senior leadership team to run and implement the city's Superstorm Sandy recovery and rebuilding efforts. Bill Goldstein will serve as senior advisor to the mayor for Recovery, Resiliency and Infrastructure. Amy Peterson will serve as director of the Housing Recovery Office, and Daniel Zarrilli will serve as director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

Since January, the de Blasio administration has completed more than 7,000 out of nearly 10,000 completed damage assessments, increased the number of completed option review meetings from roughly 500 to nearly 3,000 and got 1,200 out of 5,000 unresponsive applicants to reenter the Build it Back program.