Thursday, October 02, 2014

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HUD Pledges More Support To Protect Sandy Homeowners

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U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan was joined by Senator Charles Schumer and Mayor Michael Bloomberg Friday to announce a plan to launch a series of initiatives to aid those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

Effects of the disaster remain, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg said there will be hardly any ghost towns in areas hard struck by Hurricane Sandy.

"We think that virtually 99 percent of the people who live at the waterfront, at the water's edge, will want to continue to do that," Bloomberg said.

This, as Governor Andrew Cuomo is offering the chance for them to move to higher ground.

The offer is drawing interest in the Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island, where the damage is clearly visible.

But without citing specific numbers, officials predicted that those New Yorkers may be just about the only ones.

"You go through Brooklyn, the Rockaways, and out into Long Island, just about everyone is proud and fervent about rebuilding," said Sen. Charles Schumer.

Rebuilding is what brought Mayor Bloomberg and Sen. Schumer to a briefing with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, who is President Barack Obama's point person on restoring the region and preventing floods from debilitating it again.

When it comes to big projects to prevent floods, Donovan is now getting suggestions from officials all across the region. He'll then submit a report to the president on August 2. That document is expected to guide flood policies in the area for years, if not decades, to come.

"If we make these solutions on an individual jurisdiction basis, on a state by state basis, we're going to miss a big opportunity," Donovan said.

The big projects that the group are considering are dunes and even sea barriers. There's small items as well.

"We didn't have enough street lights, generator-powered," Bloomberg said. "Then, we found some later on. We hadn't coordinated that as well as we would have wanted to. We have our own set of radios that don't work, don't depend on the cell service, on the assumption that the cell service goes out, electricity goes out, we still have to be able to communicate."

Meanwhile, as for commuting, a federal transportation official said he expects getting the region's transit back to normal could take as much as three years.

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