Build It Back is essentially out of money. Over the past three weeks I have testified twice about what a fiasco the Build it Back (BIB) program really is.
The first hearing was at City Hall, at the Recovery and Resilience hearing on the status of BIB, where the Chair of the Recovery and Resilience Committee heaped praise on the director of BIB Amy Peterson. It was really odd to hear Committee Chair Councilman Treyger heap praise while asking Director Peterson why the program was in such shambles and essentially broke. It is beyond farcical.
I'm not really sure, but if a waiter served you your expensive dinner, burnt to a crisp, do you heap praise on the chef?
It was also very unsettling to hear one of our own, Rockaway Councilman Richards, also heap praise onto Director Peterson while so many applicants in his district are in such pain. It seems that Councilman Richards was so impressed by Director Peterson's ability to move so much BIB money into Workforce One that he failed to notice the over 35 homes dangling in the air in the elevation phase from Beach 88th to the Nassau County boarder, within his district. I thought for sure the councilman would surely have heatedly grilled Director Peterson as to why, out of the 35 homes up in the air in his own District, over 25 of them have had little to no work performed in over six months. Sadly according to Councilman Richards there are only "a few hiccups" in the program. I think the victims of BIB would beg to differ!
The second time I testified was at Beach Channel High School Campus. This time Amy Peterson herself ran a mandatory hearing required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. These hearings are required when there is a major change needed to the Build it Back Program. The current request for a change is for approval to allow BIB to essentially steal from dozens of other resiliency programs and reroute the funds to the broke BIB.
It was awesome to see so many Build it Back VICTIMS come out and tell director Peterson what a disaster this experience has been for them.
From the first day of their application to the fact that nearly four years later so many homes are in such poor shape, so much heartfelt testimony seemed to actually make Director Peterson almost show a faint sign of emotion.
Now the kicker of all kickers is Build it Back is offering a buyout. They will buy your home if you are awaiting elevation. Of course they offer this after so many homes are dangling in the air, and only to those in the Elevation program who have not begun construction. It’s now quite obvious why Build it Back feverishly coerced so many applicants into raising their homes, so victims would not qualify for the buyout.
Here's some food for thought: If NYC's Build it Back buys a victim's home, wouldn't the city then own that home? Will they then sell it to the highest bidder or a developer? My gut tells me the City will fix the homes for 10 cents on the dollar compared with the million dollars per home by Build it Back.
If you are a Build it Back Victim please keep Saturday, Oct 29 open and join other Victims in voicing your displeasure. More to come!