New York City officials are wondering why over half of the Build it Back program’s applicants have backed out.
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched Build it Back a few months after Hurricane Sandy and had roughly 20,000 homeowners sign up for home assistance and renewals.
“Construction hasn’t even started yet,” said Jeffrey Lim, 30, son of Steve Lim, who was forced to move out with his wife and two sons so their place could be elevated out of the flood zone.
According to DNA INFO, Lim’s family put all their belongings into a storage garage and found an apartment for $2,500 a month. The city informed them that both of those expenses would be reimbursed, but they haven’t seen that money yet.
“We’re hitting the six-month mark,” Lim added.
Along with the extra $2,500 a month for their apartment living, Lim has already spent $10,000 of his own money on the construction job and is still waiting on the city to perform any work and send reimbursement money.
Over 11,500 applicants withdrew from the program over the last three years and many more are worried that construction won’t even begin before the mayor’s self-imposed deadline.
“Last year, we were fixing Build it Back.” said Mayor de Blasio on the third anniversary of the storm. “Now we’re finishing it, committing to completing the program and getting families home by the end of next year.”
Many of the homes that were part of the program are difficult for construction crews to complete. Termites love wooded areas with a lot of moisture and damage roughly 600,000 homes every year in the U.S., and a lot of the homes involved in the program were found with varying degrees of termite damage.
Politicians have urged the mayor to extend the end of the year deadline because it’s “impossible” to reach.