Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ulrich Demands Build it Back Head to Step Down

 “I ask Mayor de Blasio to fire Amy Peterson or for her to resign as director of the Build it Back program,” Councilman Eric Ulrich said on Monday as he stood in front of the home of Ellen Nichtern, just one of the many Hurricane Sandy victims who continue to be failed by Build it Back almost four years after the storm.
Councilman Ulrich called for a press conference on Monday morning to demand that Peterson be fired or resign due to the continuous failures of Build it Back (BiB). “Amy Peterson has very good intentions but she is in over her head and not able to effectively turn around the program and if you want to see change, change has to start at the top. There’s no good excuse why Ellen and hundreds of other people in my district are not back in their homes while people like Amy and others are still collecting paychecks,” Ulrich said.
Nichtern and her 86-year-old mother have been out of their home since February 1, when they had to move in order for BiB to elevate and repair a portion of the home. The work was scheduled to be complete within five months. Five months later, the home still has a construction fence around it and hasn’t been touched since Nichtern moved. “We just want to get home,” she said. “They never should’ve asked us to move out in the first place because they weren’t ready for anything.”
John Cori, now a former BiB applicant spoke about his ordeal in which BiB said they would raise his home 13 feet starting in October 2015. They originally gave him a week to move out and then extended that to February. Cori prepared to move, placed his belongings in storage, had his tenant move, and was then told that the work would be postponed. When he met with BiB at a later time, he was told that they were not going to raise his home, but rather raise it just to fill in his basement, and then lower it back to the same height. “It’s insanity. There are so many problems with this program,” Cori said, adding that Mayor de Blasio should be held accountable. “There needs to be an investigation. It’s been almost four years. They mayor should quit his job and live in a hotel until victims who are living in hotels are back home. This guy’s got zero compassion. There needs to be some real people that know what they’re doing at the top and there needs to be someone who has compassion for these victims.” Deborah Star Reed of Arverne, another one of those victims said she had applied for the program when it started. She was told that her home would need to be demolished and completely rebuilt after putting her own money into repairing it, and she has yet to see any action by the program.
Ulrich concluded, “Mayor de Blasio needs to fire Peterson. He needs to hit the restart button and the himself needs to start taking a lot more interest in Sandy recovery issues, not only in the Rockaways but in Brooklyn and Staten Island and every community affected by Hurricane Sandy.”

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