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$3B Sandy Reconstruction Grant Announced; PLA Enables Cost Savings, Apprenticeships for Locals

De Blasio Schumer NYCHA PLA

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New York Senator Charles Schumer and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio have announced that FEMA has awarded a $3 billion grant to protect and rebuild 33 NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments damaged by Superstorm Sandy.  It is the largest FEMA grant in history. 

The work will be subject to a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) recently signed by the NYCHA and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.  As we wrote in March, the PLA will expedite the repair process because unions will adjust shift premiums, implement a no-strike clause, and create dispute mechanisms to prevent interruptions on the project.  The PLA will also guarantee apprenticeship spots for NYCHA residents who wish to begin careers in the building trades, a true community benefit.

Half of the $3 billion will be set aside for repairs to the 33 developments while the other half will be used to implement “resiliency measures to better protect developments from future disasters.”  In a statement announcing the grant, Mayor De Blasio said:

“When Sandy hit, it brought weeks of cold and darkness for thousands of NYCHA residents – and too many are still feeling the impact. This investment of $3 billion, the largest in FEMA history, won’t simply bring NYCHA developments back to pre-Sandy conditions. It will allow us to fortify buildings and utilities so that they’re resilient – and residents are much better protected – next time extreme weather hits,” said Mayor de Blasio. “From elevated boilers and standby generators to flood protection, this investment will go a long way for thousands of NYCHA residents. Thank you to Senator Schumer for his continued leadership and partnership as we build a stronger, more resilient New York, and to FEMA for these vital funds.”

The repair and mitigation work at these 33 developments will include:


•New elevated boiler buildings to be built at an elevation above the recent FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) to reduce future flood risk
•Removal and replacement of building heating plant equipment, including boilers, pumps, tanks and traps throughout the submerged portions of the buildings
•Removal and replacement of Sandy-damaged compactors and lifts


•Installation of standby generators to protect quality of life in any future storm power outages •Removal and replacement of existing electrical equipment at lower levels of the buildings
•Removal and replacement of conduit and associated wiring below the flood level throughout the sites, as well as replacement of associated lighting
•Installation of CCTV/Layered Access systems
•New electrical buildings, to be built above FEMA FIRM to reduce flood risk, that will house buildings’ main electrical components.


•Removal and replacement of Sandy damaged doors, walls, floors and fixtures throughout buildings’ first floor apartments and common areas
•Replacement of damaged roofing components
•Installation of a flood barrier system for lower levels of buildings

Site Work and Environmental

•Removal and replacement of damaged play areas, fencing, sidewalks and parking areas
•Removal and disposal of any regulated or hazardous materials

Senator Charles Schumer explained the necessity of the grant and how it will help those still feeling the after effects of Superstorm Sandy:

“For thousands of hard-working New York families and seniors in some 200 NYCHA buildings from Red Hook to Coney Island to the Lower East to the Rockaways who were displaced and devastated by Superstorm Sandy, this massive and historic federal investment of $3 billion well-deserved dollars will both restore decent living conditions to their buildings and fortify them against future storms and disasters,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “This is why we fought so hard to pass the Sandy-relief bill: so every single person impacted by that disaster could be made whole, and to build back better, smarter and stronger. Mayor de Blasio has been a great partner in the effort to build back stronger than ever, and we will help make sure that New York City does not remain defenseless in the future.”

Public Advocate Letitia James praised those who worked hard to ensure the grant, saying:

“We welcome this FEMA grant, which will help thousands of working New Yorkers who are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  Every single New Yorker deserves to live in safe, decent housing and these funds will allow us to provide that for the residents of NYCHA. I thank Senator Schumer and Mayor de Blasio for their hard work in bringing this grant to New York.”

The grant will help ease the financial burden facing the NYCHA.  NYCHA still needs $18 billion more to address its broader unmet capital needs.  Recent funding cuts have stripped $1 billion from the agency’s repair and maintenance budget.


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