FEMA to replace Sandy-damaged boilers in public housing developments
The federal government will front the city $100 million to pay for new boilers at dozens of public housing developments damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
On Sunday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Chuck Schumer announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would pay for 110 boiler replacements in New York City Housing Authority buildings, with work scheduled to begin later this year.
Many of the boilers in NYCHA properties were irreparably damaged after Sandy flooded basements around the city, leaving hundreds of New Yorkers in the cold for two winters now.
“They’re not asking for something crazy, something unreasonable,” Schumer said of the afflicted tenants. “They’re asking for the most basic of necessities.”
More than a year since Sandy devastated New York City, the city’s public housing tenants have struggled to keep warm despite the city’s Housing Authority reportedly spending $56 million on 24 temporary boilers alone this past winter alone.
Last month, the City Council’s public housing committee held its inaugural hearing at the Carey Gardens houses, one of at least 16 NYCHA developments without a permanent boiler system.
“Less than a month ago, NYCHA testified that it would take two additional heating seasons to replace the temporary boilers installed after Superstorm Sandy,” said the committee’s chair Councilman Ritchie Torres in a statement Sunday. “This decision will bring critical resources to bear on addressing the most basic needs of public housing residents who continue to struggle seventeen months after Sandy.”
Councilman Donovan Richards, who represents a section of the Rockaways, Queens hit hard by Sandy offered equal praise.
“For far too long residents have had to endure poor air quality and cold water in one of the harshest winters,” Richards said in a statement, “and we are happy to know that this administration heard the cries of the City Council and responded immediately.”
De Blasio said he saw the agreement with the federal government as an investment that would pay off for not just public housing residents but all New Yorkers.
“A lot of the taxpayers’ money will be saved because we’ll be making serious solutions,” the mayor said at the announcement, “not just Band-Aids.”
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