A ‘New York Rising’ Story: Not All Are Happy….

nyrisingNew York Rising is a community reconstruction program that was established by New York State to provide additional rebuilding and revitalization assistance to those who were damaged by such storms like Hurricane Sandy. Sounds good, right? Well, not all in Long Beach are happy by the program, as Kirstie & Kevin Reilly tell me their story, which apparently isn’t a common one.

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From Kristie & Kevin Reilly, residents of Long Beach:

As you know, many residents on Long Island received letters from New York Rising containing the amount that they would be receiving in grant money. Like many other families, our numbers are incorrect.

We need $58,000 for repairs. Unfortunately, they did not take into account our last amount for $53,000 that we received about a month ago and that we informed them about. So the real number received was $5,000. There was no money allocated to us for mitigation (lifting up the house). Every form that was filled out said that we did not need money for repairs just money for the lifting of the house.

When Kevin spoke to our new (and third) case worker Annoula, she said we can appeal the amount. Kevin wrote a letter last night to her and then tried to send a formal appeal through the NY Rising web site (link). The web site said the ‘Appeal process is still under construction. Thank you for your patience’. Furthermoreafter calling several times in the last two weeks, Kevin was finally able to get a hold of Annoula. She said, “Do not call anymore! I will contact you sometime in the future.”

We also contacted, Matt Nelson the of President, Office of Community Renewal who is running the NY  Rising grant program. Kevin wrote him this e-mail on Thursday morning:

Good morning Matt,

I’m not sure if you remember me, but we met during the Long Beach town hall meetings. I was at all three meetings and was very excited about the prospect of the NY Rising program. After being shuffled between three case managers who were incapable of answering most questions, a house inspection that needed to be done twice because the photos taken during the first inspection were ‘corrupted’ and the constantly changing rules, I must say that biggest disappointment of all was when I got the grant letter. The grant award (after the flood insurance payment is corrected) was accurate for the few small repairs that we have left but included ZERO mitigation assistance.

The application I submitted was for mitigation, I wrote in the remarks section “we have enough insurance money to do the repairs, we need assistance with lifting the house”. I uploaded the Letter of Determination showing damages greater than 50% and the elevation certificate showing we were below the BFE. I even handed copies of the documents over to our  first case manager during the intake meeting. Both documents were not even considered. So now that my application for assistance was miss handled I am back at square one. According to my current case manager I need to appeal the award. As I’m sure you know there is no process is in place to make an appeal. So we wait.

After months of hope that NY Rising would provide a road back home when the letter finally came, it provided no help no help only more frustration and more waiting. My story is not rare, social media is full of similar stories. I just thought you should know.

Kevin

We have not heard back from Mr. Nelson as well. Anthony, thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail. Hopefully, somebody can put a light on this subject.

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Kristie believes her case is buried in a pile of paperwork with no end in sight. Unfortunately, time is of the essence. Like most in her situation, she doesn’t have time to play bureaucratic games. All of this is beyond my expertise, for I personally and luckily haven’t had to deal with programs such as New York Rising. Kristie wanted me to just get this story out there and see who else is experiencing the same.

I do find it strange how very little information is available on the Long Beach-specific NY Rising website (http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/community/city-long-beach), where everything is ‘forthcoming’

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Ironically, there is a NY Rising meeting today at the Magnolia Senior Center in Long Beach. Hopefully many of this will be squared away tonight.

Event details: http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/long-beach-planning-committee-meeting-2

Location:
Magnolia Senior Center

 

11 thoughts on “A ‘New York Rising’ Story: Not All Are Happy….”

  1. There are nothing but similar stories out there. Even if the proper amount of money is received from the various agencies the homeowner next faces the formidable hurdle of getting competent contractors to do the work in a proper and timely manner.
    with the harsh weather almost here many people will be marking the second anniversary in the same boat.

  2. We actually found out that the money to lift the house was included. But when the proper flood insurance payment was factored in, the NY Rising program would have given us only the $5K. Not enough to elevate the hosue for sure.

    There all kinds of damaged homes all across the south shore and the folks at NY Rising keep saying “there is money to help everyone” but when you start deducting all the money that they say is a duplication of benefits (SBA, ICC, Red Cross), those awards get smaller and smaller. I heard NY got 1.7 billion to start and today another 2 billion dollars and let’s say 5000 claims so far that’s $620,000 per home. So my claim has $615,00 in administrative fees.

  3. There is a duplicative rule in grants. So NY rising says he had 58K in damage but insurance only paid him 53K so they gave him the 5k difference. You already got paid for all repairs. That 58K is just towards mitigation. NYS Rising only pays 50K towards that and the 30K ICC must be backed out.

    What Kristie and Kevin are missing there are tons of folks mainly elderly with paid off houses who had no flood insurance and who could not afford a SBA loan. These folks 58K is 58K and they are the most needest.

    You already received 100% of funds to fix house. To NY Rising you are not much of a case.

    Drive down to the Rockaways, Island Park and town with a lot of paid off homes and elderly folk. You will see folk living on top floors of gutted houses with just a sad single light on top floor. These folks had no flood insurance and the 31,900 was just enough to gut, mold treat and hook up heat and electric and board up bottom of house.

    Honestly in my humble opinion they should take care of everyone without flood insurance first.

  4. Sandy Man, The plight of people up and down the coast has not been lost on us. The uninsured that received that $31k from FEMA will have that amount deducted from whatever lowball number that NY Rising gives them anyway. As far as helping people without insurance first, NY Rising has an order to who they help first, elderly, displaced, great than 50% damaged, non-English speaking head of household and disabled (in no particular order) and without preference to insurance coverage. But the problem is exactly the same for that person on the top floor with no insurance, the elderly person without an advocate or me who has greater than 50% damage and is required to elevate my home. The system is broken. NO ONE is getting enough money to make them whole. The NY Rising program offers money with one hand and take it away with the other, they constancy undervalue the cost of repairs and they make the system so complicated that many people feel that they are alone or to confused to even get into the program. And even if they do get money to start work, it will be too little to do much good.

    You can’t expect the people who are elderly, who are disgusted with the red tape or just too broken down to stand up and make noise that the system is broken. We are stronger together, me with my insurance and the others still waiting to come home. We need to make sure that the word is out there. If you aren’t having a problem with NY Rising you probably don’t live on south shore or haven’t finished your application yet. It’s just like the safety message they give you when you board a plane….”In case of sudden loss of cabin pressure put your mask on first and then help the person next to you” I’m home and I’m shouting at the top of my lungs that the system is broke and needs to be fixed. It’s the same program that will bring ALL of us home. There’s a rally on 11/2 at 2:00pm at 1550 Franklin Ave to force NYS to pay claims fairly and to force them to fix the program and help everyone come home. I’ll be there because I still have a problem with NY Rising, hopefully the people waiting to come home will be there too.

  5. wait – the priority should be for people who elected not to have flood insurance? We all need to elevate. Maybe those who paid into the system should receive some type of recognition as well.

  6. Kevin I dont have to elevate. I got six feet of water in my house. What you are missing is FEMA folk when they visited houses of folks without flood insurance they were in a huge rush and they knew the most they could pay out was $31,900. They also knew folks got 2-4K in housing assistance so really any amount they document over 28K is a waste of their time. Unlike the folks with flood insurance where you have the right to appeal, hire insurance adjusters, hire lawyers and argue and fight.

    The folks without flood had no advocates. Remember, once you reach the 31,900 max you have NO right to appeal. So if your house has 250K in damage and they put down 32k that was that.

    So FEMA inspectors never really wrote any non-flood house as substainly damaged. Once they broke 32K in their little lap top they flew out the door. Remember, back then FEMA did not know NYHRRF or NYSRISING would exist. In their mind this was it.

    Many folks are also in PRP EE zones who did not have flood insurance. PRP rate got extended and Biggert Waters did not effect it. To keep rate you just need to be not substainly damaged and have less thtn two claims in last ten years.

    Folks like that have no reason to raise house. No funds are available. We are just to fix and move on. All “in-kind” repairs. We were told next flood we get the cash but not now.

    Folks with insurance who received even one penny more in total premiums they paid in got a hand out. That is how insurance works with NFIP as they have no reserve fund. They take in less than they pay out they hit up the tax payers.

    I live on Southshore. I have over 200K in damage to my home according to NYS Rising. I dont have to raise, oddly enough.

    I was denied any transistional housing. I moved back into my home Thanksgiving weekend and been there ever since.

    NYS Rising loved my attached garage. Nearly all my sheetrock is still up and I never cleaned the walls on purpose. Clear photos of the water lines with dirt still there like a ring around a bathtup. I left it on purpose to document water height.

    I say 99% of folks never bought flood insurance. Everyone I talk to has it cause they have a mortgage and was forced to buy it. If Long Beach, Island Park and Oceanside did not require flood insurance to get a mortgage I bet the majority of homes would not have it or would have a much smaller amount. Very few would have paid for the full 350K.

    Other issue which is hard to believe most folks without flood insurance were never told them needed it. Remember single family pre-firm home subsidized flood insurance is only charged at 1/3 risk rating. Why does it exist? Folks with Fannie/Freddie Back govt mortgages the govt does not want their collateral floating away. Around me we were zoned in to flood in 2008 or 2009. Nearly everyone on my block over 60 has no morgage. Not a single person was notified we were not in flood nor were people notified it is only $400 bucks a year. Sure you can look it up on internet. But I doubt 90 year old widow is donig that. She would read a post card or something or town mailing but that never happened,.

  7. I am in the situation where my ICC letter was written and then retracted, so I don’t qualify for NY Rising funds to raise my house even though I am on the water. My inlaws who had minimal damage are having their home raised and paid for by NY Rising and they never had a letter nor did they have anywhere near 50% damage. What is done for one person is denied to another. I feel it’s a scam.

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