FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.qns.com JULY 21, 2016 • THE COURIER SUN 3 Rockaway official slams city’s program to rebuild homes after Superstorm Sandy By Charlie Per y email@example.com/@QNS One Rockaway official is calling for some drastic changes to be made to a city program aimed at helping people get back into their homes after Superstorm Sandy. Councilman Eric Ulrich voiced his concerns over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s handling of the Build it Back Program and called for the resignation or termination of the program’s director, Amy Peterson, on July 19. “It’s sad and unfortunate that nearly four years after the storm, the mayor refuses to take responsibility for the failure of Build it Back,” Ulrich said. “There is a total lack of accountability and compassion. Amy Peterson should resign today and allow new leadership to run the program more effectively. If she won’t resign, Mayor de Blasio should fire her.” Peterson was appointed director of the Build it Back Program by Mayor de Blasio in 2014. According to Raul Conteras, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office, before Peterson was appointed to run the program, not one homeowner had received a check or seen construction. The administration quickly overhauled the program and took over direct management. Since then, 80 percent of homeowners have been served with over $120 million. Mayor de Blasio hopes to see the remaining homes across the city rebuilt by the end of 2016. “She’s been excellent and to say anything else would be a blatant lie,” Councilman Donovan Richards said. Neponsit resident Mark Dana has a different opinion of those involved in the Build it Back Program: “These people are disgusting, incompetent thieves and liars,” Dana said. Dana and his family lost everything after the hurricane hit their home in Neponsit. According to Dana, he went back and forth with Build It Back representatives for more than three years to receive financial assistance to help pay over $100,000 in damages. He had to refile paperwork seven different times with the program. The Build it Back Program informed Dana that his house would have to be raised to receive assistance. After talking with his lawyer, Dana decided to have the house raised higher off the ground. Even then, Dana was informed that he was only eligible for $17,000 in assistance because the Friends of Rockaway Group had volunteered to preform minor construction on his home. Dana decided to take what he could get and signed off on the Build it Back funding assistance in December of 2015. A week later, he was informed that he had been removed from the program due to “non-response.” Dana claims he had been coming to the program’s offices at least three times a week since his initial inquiry. “They were making us jump through hoops for 3 1/2 years,” Dana said. “Every way possible to get screwed through this program we were screwed.” According to the NYC Build it Back website, the program was created in 2013 to assist homeowners, landlords and tenants within the five boroughs whose primary homes were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Build it Back provides funding for reconstruction through city-selected developers or contractors chosen independently by property owners that follow program guidelines and fall within cost restrictions. The program is funded by the Federal Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recover. Councilman Mark Treyger took to Twitter in his defense of Peterson, writing, “New York City’s Build it Back Program may face challenges, but Amy Peterson is not one of them. She deserves much credit for improvement of the program post-Bloomberg.” Cops make arrest in a deadly May shooting in Jamaica By Robert Pozarycki firstname.lastname@example.org/@robbpoz Detectives slapped the cuffs on a Brooklyn man accused of fatally shooting a Jamaica man more than two months ago near the victim’s residence, police announced on July 14. Teimel Morris, 22, of Baltic Street is charged with shooting Edward Harris, 28, of 159th Street on the night of May 6 in the vicinity of Union Hall Street between 107th and 108th avenues. According to police sources, Harris — who lived a short distance away — was walking through the area at about 9:13 p.m. that evening when Morris allegedly walked up to him, pulled out a firearm and shot him twice in the head. After pulling the trigger, Morris fled the scene northbound on Union Hall Street. Authorities did not disclose a possible motive for the shooting, which remains under investigation. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Morris was an “acquaintance” of Harris. Officers from the 103rd Precinct and EMS units discovered the wounded and unconscious Harris on the street. Paramedics rushed Harris to Jamaica Hospital, where he died of his injuries on May 12. Morris was charged on July 14 with murder and criminal possession of a firearm. He was ordered held without bail and to return to court on July 19. If convicted, Morris faces up to 25 years to life behind bars. “This case is tragically another example of a young life being lost to the senselessness of gun violence,” Brown said in a statement on July 14. “By Morris’ alleged lethal actions, he has shown himself to have a complete disregard for human life and is therefore a danger to society.” Photo via Google Maps The block of Union Hall Street in Jamaica where a man was fatally shot last weekend. Photo: Flickr from user Audio7Feedback Since 2013 the Build it Back program has promised assistance for New Yorkers affected by Superstorm Sandy. For some, assistance still hasn’t come over four years later.
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