More than 100 public housing buildings damaged during Sandy will be getting federal aid for new boilers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer announced that $100 million dollars in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for the boilers.
In the 16 months since Sandy hit, the city has spent $3 million each month for temporary boilers, greatly taxing the already financially strapped agency.
Normally FEMA would try to repair rather than replace damaged infrastructure and then subsequently negotiate the cost. However, over the weekend, Schumer and de Blasio announced that FEMA had agreed not to challenge the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)'s repair cost estimates and will pay for brand new boilers, rather than just repair the damaged ones.
This will greatly speed up the process of restoring normal service to buildings impacted by the storm, which originally hadn't been scheduled to be completed until 2016.
Under the new agreement, FEMA and NYCHA are seeking to have the final funding agreement in place early this year so boiler replacement can start later this year.
"For more than 16 months, bureaucratic infighting and red tape have denied NYCHA residents the most basic of necessities, reliable heat and hot water," said Schumer. "Today we're firmly on the path to righting a wrong that has too often left NYCHA residents in the cold during the winter and in the dark at night. Mayor de Blasio and his team have been working hard with me on ending this unnecessary delay, and I want to thank them for their assistance."
"When Superstorm Sandy made landfall nearly a year and a half ago, it brought with it death, tragedy and destruction. Too often the wait for relief and recovery has exacerbated the tragedy of the storm, a reality NYCHA residents know all too well," said Mayor de Blasio.
"Now, thanks in large part to the leadership of Senator Schumer, we will much sooner than planned start making the upgrades needed to improve the quality of life for thousands in public housing whose lives are still disrupted by Sandy. These replacement boilers will bring not only reliable hot water and heat water to so many, but essential peace-of-mind."
The boilers will be installed in damaged buildings throughout Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Brooklyn’s Coney Island and the Rockaway section of Queens