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
"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.
every dollar spent on mitigation efforts prevents $4 in future damage
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
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