1. Cap each grant at the assessed value of the home.
This will allow us to spread out limited amount of funding to help the widest selection of people.
2. Property taxes and water charges should be waived.
The waiver would be for the time a homeowner is displaced and awaiting reconstruction.
3. Take the government out of the construction process and allow each applicant to hire their own contractors.
This removes the city as a middleman and allows people to work with someone with whom they’re comfortable.
4. Elevation should be limited.
Due to the exorbitant cost of elevating, we must consider the cost of elevating a severely damaged home versus rebuilding a new home (example: a home on Staten Island valued at approximately $225K was elevated at a cost of $773K). Additionally, using unnecessary helical piles instead of spread-footing increased the cost by roughly $150,000 to $250,000.
5. Contractors and homeowners should be required to attend a one-time training session
The training session would educate contractors and homeowners on how the program works so they can understand its limitations, the process for reimbursements and payments, and how to avoid being the victim of fraud.
6. Streamline a homeowner’s interaction with recovery program by assigning a single assessor and representative to work with throughout the process, so that a relationship can be established.
Providing homeowners with a consistent point of contact, and giving city representatives a certain portfolio of homeowners, will prevent mishandling of paperwork, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.
7. Those who assess damage and work with homeowners through the application process must be better trained, and copies of all applications and paperwork must be scanned electronically and returned to the homeowner.
Too many homeowners were forced to fill out paperwork multiple times because originals were lost or misplaced.
8. Use common sense and creativity.
A recovery program needs to allow its personnel to take unique circumstances into account and make exceptions. There is no cookie-cutter approach to help people recover from catastrophe of this type.