New York City Build it Back Program

The Build It Back Program assists homeowners, landlords, and tenants affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 within all five boroughs of New York City, New York by rebuilding homes damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. The City’s goal is to invest and create resilient neighborhoods through sustainable design, such as requiring new homes to be elevated above projected sea-level rise and flood heights. Registration for the program was announced on June 3, 2013, and as of the closing date for registration (October 31, 2013), the program received applications for more than 20,000 single‐family buildings; of which approximately 16,000 applicants completed the initial eligibility review. Build It Back is funded by Federal Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Build it Back provides construction funds to sustainably rebuild a home to the pre-storm size and unit count. The rebuilt home must be above the Base Flood Elevation level and certified by Enterprise Green Communities, a guideline for energy efficiency and sustainability. Additionally, the Program invested in services, such as legal counseling and temporary housing, to facilitate homeowner participation in the program and ensure that impacted neighborhoods are supported by the community.

By early 2014, almost 18 months after Hurricane Sandy, the Build It Back program had not yet funded or begun any construction projects. Mayor Bill de Blasio then overhauled the program in 2014, which as of 2016 has served thousands of homeowners. By the end of 2016, the City expected over 90 percent of program participants will have received checks and/or commenced construction. In addition, by the end of 2016, approximately 75 percent of City managed single family homes were to be complete. Learn more about the progress and changed made in the program in the October 2016 Build It Back Progress Update.The adapted Build It Back offers multiple program options (counts as of October 2016):

Reimbursement Grants for Homeowners (5,739 checks issued to date)

Acquisition of Homes (132 closings to date)

City‐Managed Construction (3,099 construction starts to date)  

Community Housing Recovery Projects for Multiple Families (22 construction starts to date)

Homeowner‐Managed Construction Options (650 construction starts to date)

As of October 2016, there are 8,585 applicants in the broader Build It Back program, of which 7,173 (84 percent of applicants) have been financed or are in construction.

In 2016, ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York published a white paper describing Build it Back's successes and lessons learned, especially in the area of equitable rebuilding. See that report here.




Publication Date: June 2013

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