Even though residents of Howard Beach have been frustrated with the Build it Back process, numbers are moving in the right direction for the neighborhood.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that there have been 535 construction starts and that 543 reimbursement checks have been distributed to Hurricane Sandy victims in the city, thus exceeding his Labor Day goals of 500 constructions starts and 500 checks handed out.
On a smaller level, numbers in area code 11414, which includes Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach, are also on the rise.
Out of the approximate 1,200 active Build it Back applicants in 11414, 95 have received checks and 60 have started construction, according to a representative from the mayor’s office. There are also 139 applicants who have finished construction plan consultations and 564 who have formally been made an assessment offer, the representative added.
These numbers were at zero in the beginning of the year.
Over the past few months, the mayor’s office has overhauled the Build it Back process, allowing applications to move more fluidly through the program.
This overhaul includes putting senior city staff members in charge of Build it Back centers and case management, and allowing homeowners to consult with designers and architects earlier in the process, making construction scheduling easier, the representative said.
“It was simply unacceptable that not a single homeowner had gotten relief as of the beginning of this year,” de Blasio said. “We know there’s much more work ahead — and we’re committed to continuing to speed up recovery so that every homeowner gets the relief they need.”