Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Free Program To Return SIers To Damaged Homes Reaches Second Phase

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TWC News: Free Program To Return SIers To Damaged Homes Reaches Second Phase
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The second phase of a free program aimed to get Staten Island Hurricane Sandy victims back in their home is starting up. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

Alexander Colello was one year away from paying off the mortgage on his Midland Beach home when Hurricane Sandy hit.

"I'm retired and I am just waiting to enjoy life now," he says.

That enjoyment has been put on hold as Colello figures out what to do next.

The New York City Department of Buildings initially gave his home a red sticker, meaning it it is unsafe, but more than a month after the storm, it was changed to a yellow, which allows restricted use of the property.

Right around the same time, architects from the Staten Island Quikstart program came to inspect his home.

"The water was up about 3.5, four feet," says James Oliva of Rampulla Associate Architects. "It had compromised all of the fire walls. Party walls between the buildings. Firewall on the exterior of the building. The subfloor had been compromised. We did find some structure that was leaning."

Olivia is one of the members of the Staten Island chapter of the American Institute of Architects that is offering free consultations. The program is put on by the AIA in conjunction with Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro and City Councilmembers James Oddo and Vincent Ignizio. After homeowners set up an appointment, their entire property is inspected for structural damage.

Shortly after architects assess the home, they will give owners a report that will not only lay out what specific damage they have but also give them a plan as to how they can repair it.

"It just tells them what the threshholds are so they can understand where their house stands with regard to code requirements, with regard to zoning issues, and with regard to all of the construction flood-proofing issues," says Bob Englert with the Staten Island borough president's office.

The hope is to give homeowners the knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

"I'm so happy that they came out here and checked into it and looked into my house and it is going to move me forward," Colello says.

To enroll in the Staten Island Quikstart program, call 718-816-2000.

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