Donovan hosts tour of HUD-funded Superstorm Sandy recovery projects in Staten Island

U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) led a tour of projects that are part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) ongoing efforts to rebuild storm-damaged areas in Staten Island, New York, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Donovan hosted Lynne Patton, the administrator of HUD Region II, in visiting a house elevation project supported by HUD’s Build it Back program and the Living Breakwaters project supported by Rebuild by Design, a HUD resiliency competition program.

“I’m glad Regional Administrator Patton accepted my invitation to spend a day on Staten Island,” Donovan said. “Her commitment to personally visiting projects critical to Staten Island’s future emphasizes her focus and determination at the helm of HUD’s regional office.”

Donovan’s office has worked with hundreds of home elevation projects in Staten Island. He and Patton learned about the challenges and complications from local homeowner Lori Widlund on Thursday. Wildlund’s elevation project is expected to mitigate future flood risks and help reduce flood insurance costs.

“It’s no secret that New York City’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy was too slow, too bureaucratic and too expensive,” Donovan said. “There’s plenty of blame to go around, including how Congress wrote the Sandy aid bill and how the city implemented it, and I hope we can learn from our mistakes. I’m confident Regional Administrator Patton will do a fantastic job, and I look forward to a productive and collaborative relationship.”

Patton agreed with Donovan’s assessment that Staten Island had faced a challenging recovery process.

“The Build It Back program mandates tough new regulatory compliance with both federal and city building codes — often for housing stock that wasn’t up to code prior to Sandy,” Patton said. “Unfortunately, this has contributed to some delay and frustration. However, by doing so, it’s clear that this program is not only designed to Build It Back, but Build it Better.”

Donovan and Patton also visited the Living Breakwaters project. Supported by a $60 million HUD investment, the project will reduce flood risk through offshore breakwaters that are designed to quell destructive waves and preserve marine ecology off the south shore of Staten Island.