Sandy Victims Fighting FEMA will stage a rally in Mineola on Saturday, demanding that the state distribute NY Rising funds to homeowners seeking to rebuild their houses damaged during Hurricane Sandy last year.
The volunteer organization has scheduled the rally for 2 p.m. at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive Legislative Building, 1550 Franklin Ave. in Mineola. The Facebook page of Sandy Victims Fighting FEMA states that the organization, which originally formed to fight the National Flood Insurance Policy’s “earth movement” exclusion, is rallying to have NY Rising “adequately pay homeowners.”
A flier the organization is circulating about the rally reads: “It is one year since Sandy, and many finally received award letters this month — but they are so low we cannot rebuilt our homes! NOT $1 HAS BEEN PAID! We need thousands to attend and make our voice heard.”
The rally comes after government officials announced this week that a second round of Hurricane Sandy-related aid would become available and flow more easily to homeowners and municipalities in 2014. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that the state would receive an additional $2.1 billion of Sandy aid in 2014, and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer released a report the says the state is set to receive an estimated $6.3 billion in relief funding next year, which was allocated but not yet distributed.
Michelle Mittleman, founder of Sandy Victims Fighting FEMA, said she believes the problem with NY Rising, a state program that administers federal funds to eligible storm-victims, is not so much the availability of funds, but rather who is administering them. The program was rushed out before it was fully operational, she said, in order to show some progress before the storm’s one-year anniversary, according to the Long Beach Herald. Said Mittleman:
“They have plenty of money. The problem is in the details. They have not worked out the details on how they’re going to disperse that money. I do think it will get better. I just think it’s criminal that the money hasn’t been released one year later.”