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Rep. Nadler and Local Leaders Commemorate Superstorm Sandy Anniversary, Announce Legislation to Expand Access to FEMA Disaster Assistance

Washington, November 1, 2019

New York, N.Y. — Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined local elected officials and community groups to commemorate the 7th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy's landfall, the impact of which many communities in New York are still recovering from. At the press conference, Congressman Nadler also announced that he will be introducing legislation, the Disaster Equity Assistance Act, which would make common interest communities eligible for the same FEMA assistance available to other homeowners. 

"In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers were shocked to learn that they could not restore their co-ops and condos to a livable condition because their common areas were not eligible for disaster assistance," said Congressman Nadler. "Seven years later, millions of Americans across the nation have come to face that same realization in the wake of natural disasters. A storm doesn’t care what type of home you live in before destroying it, and FEMA should treat all homeowners fairly when helping them rebuild. I'm proud to announce that I will soon introduce the Disaster Equity Assistance Act, a critical bill which will ensure every American can rebuild their home and their lives in the aftermath of natural disasters."

"Seven years ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated our city — more than 40 lives were lost and our city faced more than $70 billion in damage," said New York State Senator Brad Holyman. "Now, nearly a decade after the storm, we must ensure New York is prepared for future natural disasters. I’m proud to stand with Congressman Nadler in support of improving FEMA and expanding access to disaster relief for all New Yorkers."

"Seven years ago, Superstorm Sandy took the lives of 43 New Yorkers, wreaked havoc on the physical infrastructure that we rely upon everyday, displaced thousands of people from their homes, and left many stranded in high rise buildings without electricity, running water, or other utilities. We are still recovering from the extensive damage caused by Sandy, and we need to prepare ourselves for events like this to happen again and with greater frequency," said New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh. "We have made progress protecting the Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn communities I represent, and all of New York, and we’ve passed the nation’s strongest legislation to ensure we’re doing our part to reduce climate change pollution. But we have a lot more work to do. I look forward to continuing to work with Congressmember Nadler, Borough President Brewer, all of our colleagues in government, and our communities to implement resiliency plans that will protect our vulnerable neighborhoods against future storms, sea level rise, and the other devastating effects of climate change."

"It is extremely important that protecting lower Manhattan from climate change is a priority," said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. "At this point, there is no doubt that there will be another severe weather event like Superstorm Sandy — the question is when it will happen. We need to ensure that Lower Manhattan and New York State as a whole is as prepared as possible. This year in the State Assembly we passed the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act to set out long term plans to preserve our community. As we continue our efforts to create a more resilient lower Manhattan, we must always remember that community engagement is key. We deserve to have a spot at the table and have our voices heard because we must live with the changes done to our community."

"Seven years after Sandy, we're still applying lessons we learned from the immediate aftermath of the storm to prepare our communities for the next climate change disaster," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "All New Yorkers living on our waterfront — no matter what kind of home or building you live in — must be guaranteed the same level of robust protections. I thank Congressman Nadler for introducing this vital legislation and urging the Federal government to step up to the plate to treat climate change as a reality, not as a fantasy."

"It’s important to mark the anniversary of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, but it’s also important to ring an alarm bell and talk about solutions," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Unfortunately, we’re not much better prepared for a storm of that magnitude than we were seven years ago, and I will continue to fight for urgency when it comes to resiliency efforts."

Capt. Jonathan Boulware, President of the South Street Seaport Museum, which hosted the event on its Sandy-flooded Pier 16 emphasized the need for action. "Much has been done building-by-building to harden lower Manhattan against flood threat. But a comprehensive region-wide solution is needed. The Seaport Museum is still recovering from Sandy 7 years later, just as are many families and businesses throughout the five boroughs. Where we stand today was under more than four feet of water. We remain vulnerable to another such flood until we as a city take meaningful and comprehensive action."

"This much needed loophole-closing legislation is necessary as our exposed neighborhood, the fourth largest business district in the country, waits for the continuation of the Interim Flood Protection Measure (IFPM) and as discussions for the City’s Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) and the US Army Corps of Engineers New York/New Jersey Harbor & Tributaries study, known as USACE HATS, have just begun," said Catherine McVay Hughes, Board Member of the FiDi Neighborhood Association (FDNA)

The Disaster Equity Assistance Act would amend the Stafford Act to:

1. Provide funding for the repair of essential common elements of a common interest community (such as a roof, exterior wall, heating and cooling equipment, elevator, stairwell, utility access, plumbing, and electricity); and

2. Ensure the the removal of debris from a common interest community in the aftermath of a major disaster.

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