Feds Award $3 Billion to NYCHA Buildings, Including Some on LES, For Flood Protection

The scene on South Street after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Virginia Jones.

The scene on South Street after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Virginia Jones.
The scene on South Street after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Virginia Jones.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is giving $3 billion to New York City’s public housing developments for storm protection. Several Lower East Side complexes – including the Smith Houses, the Laguardia Houses, the Baruch Houses, the Wald Houses, the Riis Houses and Campos Plaza – will benefit.

It’s the largest grant in FEMA’s history. Half of the money will be used for repairs, while the other half will be designated for “resiliency measures.” Hurricane Sandy devastated electrical and mechanical systems in many public housing buildings. According to a press release from Mayor de Blasio and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, the grant will pay for “new construction of elevated boilers, installation of flood barrier systems, and stand-by generators.”

The press statement, however, included this sobering note:

NYCHA requires more than $18 billion beyond the funding announced today to address its broader unmet capital needs across its portfolio of more than 330 developments. Eroding annual support for NYCHA has resulted in more than $1 billion in lost funding in recent years, hindering the Authority’s ability to keep its buildings in a state of decent repair and maintain a basic quality of life for the more than 400,000 New Yorkers living in NYCHA.