Velazquez Touts Renewal of Hurricane Sandy Disaster Loan Program

Rep. Nydia Velazquez and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet joined AAFE staff and business owners yesterday.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet joined AAFE staff and business owners yesterday.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration, were in the neighborhood yesterday to talk up the rejuvenation of a Hurricane Sandy emergency loan program.

That’s right, three years after the big storm there’s a new push to aid businesses and homeowners who became frustrated in the aftermath of Sandy and never processed their applications. In an event at the headquarters of Asian Americans for Equality on Allen Street, they publicized the program, which was brought back to life late last year.

The SBA stopped taking applications in 2013. A report by the Government Accountability Office found that it took the feds as long as 45 days to approve or deny emergency loans. Legislation authored by Velazquez and enacted in November renewed the program. $3.4 million has been loaned in New York City since December.

At yesterday’s press event, the officials highlighted the case of Chinatown businessman Peter Li of  “47 Division Street Trading, Inc.” In the aftermath of Sandy, the poultry and meat supplier suffered losses of about $500,000. While AAFE’s Renaissance Economic Development Corp. provided a small emergency loan to the business, the SBA loan wasn’t processed for six months. On average, the government is now pushing through loans in eight days.

There was plenty of praise to go around yesterday for Velazquez and for AAFE. The SBA administrator presented AAFE with an award in recognition of the local non-profit’s longstanding partnership with the SBA.

You can learn more about the SBA Disaster Loan Program here.  Residents can receive up to $200,000 to repair physical damage — and $40,000 to replace personal belongings. Businesses and non-profits are eligible for up to $2 million.

Learning From Hurricane Sandy: LES Ready! Releases Report

Post-Sandy Small Business Loan & Grant Guidance Offered Beginning Wednesday, October 1

Tonight on the Lower East Side: Sandy Oversight Hearing

Sandy Oversight Hearing_Lower Manhattan

The public is invited to NYC Comptroller’s Hurricane Sandy oversight hearing tonight at Two Bridges Tower, 82 Rutgers Slip. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.

Rebuild by Design Proposals Unveiled April 3

New York Rising Meetings Coming Up March 1-2

ny rising meetings

The post-Hurricane Sandy initiative, New York Rising, is holding a series of meetings early next month. See the flyer above or check out the NY Rising web site for more information.


Three Months Later, Knickerbocker Village is Still Waiting For Sandy Money (Updated)

Knickerbocker Village Receives Hurricane Money; $5 Million More Needed For Storm-Proofing

Last night we reported that Knickerbocker Village, the affordable housing complex near the Manhattan Bridge, had been awarded $1.46 million in federal hurricane recovery funds.  More details were released a short time ago at a news conference on the Lower East Side.

Knickerbocker Village Will Receive $1.46 Million in Federal Recovery Money

Tomorrow -a day after the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy – city officials will finally announce that Knickerbocker Village has been awarded federal disaster aid.

One Year After Sandy on the Lower East Side

Here’s a look at some events and updated information regarding today’s one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy Anniversary on Tuesday: Social Justice Forum, Candlelight Vigil

This coming Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.  Among the events to mark the occasion is a forum featuring experts and community leaders at University Settlement.

Sandy One Year Later: Knickerbocker Village Lags in Recovery; Progress Elsewhere

The following story first appeared in the October 2013 edition of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.

LES Ready! — Planning For the Next Superstorm (A Month-Long Series)

This month, New Yorkers will be looking back and remembering the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, which came ashore October 29 one year ago.  On the Lower East Side, there’s an organization called the Long Term Recovery Group that’s doing more than reflecting; they’re developing plans to make sure this neighborhood is better able to withstand for the next major storm. 

Knickerbocker Village Tenants Denied FEMA Benefits

Knickerbocker Village.

Knickerbocker Village, the historic affordable housing complex, was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and some residents there are still struggling to bounce back from the devastating storm. This afternoon, local elected officials released a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urging a reversal of its decision to deny aid to some Knickerbocker Village tenants.

Following the storm, electrical power, heat and other services were out for more than two weeks.  Today’s letter from State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, City Council member Margaret Chin and State Senator Dan Squadron stated:

In multiple meetings, as well as at a public forum we hosted for residents, representatives from FEMA told Knickerbocker residents they were eligible for reimbursement for their hotel expenses. Since that time, FEMA has rejected claims from several residents. We believe that these residents are in fact eligible under the guidelines that FEMA laid out and we ask that you re-evaluate all rejected claims from Knickerbocker Village. Some residents are also seeking reimbursement for property damage and medical expenses and we urge you to review those claims as well.


LES Businesses Awarded Sandy Recovery Grants

Delicate Raymond, 73A Orchard Street.

Back in November, the Lower East Side BID held a benefit for businesses hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.  This week the BID announced the recipients of recovery grants made possible through the program.  $10,000 was raised during the fundraiser, held at the DL restaurant on Ludlow Street.  The recipients are: Saxelby Cheesemongers, Goodfellas, Congee Village, Georgia’s Eastside BBQ, Melt Bakery, Boubouki, Heritage Meats, Delicate Raymond Jewelry Bar and The Living Room. A news release from the BID stated that the “selection process was based on objective a set of evaluation criteria.”  Bob Zuckerman, the organization’s executive director, said “Sandy caused many businesses to suffer in myriad ways… We know that every little bit counts which is what encouraged our creation of the Sandy relief grant fund.”