Today’s lesson: life isn’t fair. According to a report in the New York Daily News, the federal government will reimburse those who live in Long Island and made Sandy repairs out-of-pocket, but not those who live in New York City.
The difference has to do with the distribution of community development block grants being doled out by the federal government. The City of New York is receiving $1.8 billion to be dispersed to residents. It is the only municipality to be given an allocation directly from the federal government. The feds gave separate block grants to New York State, excluding the city, and New Jersey.
Sounds good, except the city, which, like New York State and New Jersey, drew up its own proposed guidelines for disbursement, included a clause that prohibits city dwellers from receiving compensation for repairs that they have already paid for. The State of New York, meanwhile, is getting $1.7 billion. There is no such restriction in the dispersal of their funds, and the state is expected to reimburse homeowners who paid for repairs themselves.
New York City residents were predictably peeved at the short shrift headed their way.
“I’m angry, but not surprised. The city does things their way,” Kathy Kirker told the Daily News.
Kirker, a Breezy Point resident, said her mother had to shell out $15,000 for a new furnace because her insurance wouldn’t cover it.
Senator Charles Schumer has rightfully called the discrepancy unfair and is fighting the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to get it changed.
“There needs to be consistency between New York City and New York State’s action plans to ensure that all homeowners in New York can access the same type of assistance,” Schumer wrote in a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan on Tuesday.
“A homeowner in Rockaway Beach … will not be eligible for the same benefit that a homeowner in Long Beach, just 10 miles away, will be able to access.”
In their defense, a spokesman for the city claimed that all of the plans to dole out the $1.8 billion was preliminary and that changes might come in the future. However, if things stand the way they are now, those who paid big bucks to fix their homes might be out of luck from getting any of that money back.