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Obama Administration to Press for Sandy Relief

HUD secretary tours devastated area, says government is in this for years to come.

A top Obama Administration official toured Hurricane-devastated communities Tuesday and vowed to press Congress for additional funding to repair and rebuild Long Island homes and businesses.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan also vowed that the government is committed to the rebuilding effort for the "long term."

"The president has said we will be here for the long term," Donovan said at a press conference Tuesday in Bethpage. "We will not rebuild in a day or a week but we will come back through the years ahead until all of Long Island has recovered."

Donovan, a native of New York, serves as the Obama Administration’s chairman of the Hurricane Sandy Task Force.

He appeared at the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management with Nassau Executive Edward P. Mangano, Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone and a host of local leaders.

At issue are financial measures before Congress that would supplement existing federal loan programs for rebuilding after storms. Homeowners and businesses can not rebuild in the expensive Long Island market simply on the FEMA loan money available, Donovan said.

That figure is capped by law at about $32,000.

"Some will need much more than that to rebuild," Donovan said. The administration's supplemental request of $60 billion has yet to be approved by federal lawmakers.

"Every day that goes by is another day of grief and frustration for these families on Long Island," Donovan said.

Some $14 billion of the $60 billion request is targeted for rebuilding efforts that prevent damage from future storms.

Donovan said every dollar spent on mitigation efforts prevents $4 in future damage costs. Officials estimated that 150,000 homes on Long Island sustained moderate or major damage.

To date, some 70,000 families in Nassau have registered with FEMA for assistance; another 25,000 have requested aid in Suffolk, officials said.

Story by Joe Dowd

M. Perrotta December 19, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Did they tour ALL of Long Island communities affected ? What are they waiting for to release these funds, ? This is winter ! Night time temps are supposed to be in the twenties this coming weekend
Jeannette Donovan December 20, 2012 at 12:37 AM
A family we know had their home inspected by FEMA. They told them they could apply for a "Small Business Loan". No one knows why they called the damages to their roof & gutters & leaders on their PRIVATE HOME a "Small Business Loan". There is no reason to call FEMA funds to a family whose roof leaked on their personal printer. It's so sad to talk to them. They thought they could actually get help from FEMA. They got a little money from their homeowner's insurance, but it will not cover all of the damage. They do not know what to do or where to turn for real help.

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