New York, NY, United States (4E) – Many victims of Hurricane Sandy are still waiting for promised government aid and insurance payouts for rebuilding their homes a year after the superstorm caused the second-costliest weather disaster in U.S. history.
President Barack Obama remembered the event Tuesday by saying that the federal government provided billions of dollars of assistance, grants and loans to hundreds of thousands of people and small business owners in New Jersey and New York, the worst-hit of five states affected by Sandy.
“We’ve helped thousands of families stay in their homes, communities cut through red tape and bureaucracy to receive the help they need,” Obama said.
But reports say that only a small fraction of federal aid has reached the devastated communities and victims. Congress authorized $60.4 billion financial assistance for devastated communities in January but only $13.5 billion has been paid out so far.
Thousands of displaced families from New York and New Jersey are temporarily living in apartments or with relatives while waiting to get government aid or insurance money to rebuild their homes. States were apparently slow in releasing $150,000 to $300,000 federal grants provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) starting in May, according to state and local officials.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) admitted Monday that aid flowed too slowly but promised that the flow would be better the second year. New York City Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said storm victims could expect to see repairs within a few weeks — and by the end of the year, several hundred homes a day will be fully fixed, according to New York Daily News.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday a new $1.34 billion Sandy grant for use in helping homeowners and small businesses and improve infrastructure.
Hurricane Sandy made its landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29, 2012. The superstorm killed 159 people, destroyed at least 650,000 homes and 250,500 cars, and affected more than 300,000 businesses.