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Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery Expands Enhanced Buyout Program

On Monday, April 7, building on its commitment to form stronger and more resilient communities, the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery announced an expansion of its Enhanced Buyout Program–extending the initiative to members of the Graham Beach neighborhood of Staten Island.

Residents of the Graham Beach community, which was severely impacted by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, will now be eligible to sell their homes to the State for pre-storm value, in addition to a 10 percent enhanced buyout bonus. Homeowners can also receive an extra five percent incentive, should they purchase a home in the county following sale to the State.

“We have already seen great success with enhanced buyouts in Staten Island and Suffolk County,” said New York State Director of Storm Recovery, Jamie Rubin. “The expansion of this important initiative will enable Graham Beach homeowners to have a fresh start, while also helping the State to better protect communities from future storms.”

The Graham Beach neighborhood is bound by Jefferson Avenue to the west, Olympia Boulevard to the north, Father Capadanno Boulevard to the south and Naughton Avenue to the east. Approximately 130 homes will be eligible for the program.

The newest initiative follows the designation of two other Staten Island communities– Oakwood Beach and Ocean Breeze– as Enhanced Buyout zones. Since September 2013, the State has purchased 170 properties in Oakwood Beach for a total of approximately $70 million.

"Offering the residents of Graham Beach a buyout makes sense given its topography, lack of infrastructure, proximity to the Bluebelt and continued vulnerability to the forces of nature,” said Staten Island Borough President Jim Oddo. “Governor Cuomo and his Administration continue to demonstrate a common sense approach, and although we have a long way to go before our collective work is done, I very much appreciate the level of communication and cooperation Borough Hall has received from the Governor's Storm Recovery team since my term began in January."

Other elected officials share the Borough President’s sentiments about the program.

"I am glad to see the Governor extend this innovative program to Graham Beach,” said New York State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis. “While these families love their community, and some have been here for generations, Hurricane Sandy showed us that the area is clearly more suitable for open space.  I'm pleased to know that the land will be better purposed to protect surrounding residents."

"This is outstanding news for Graham Beach residents, who can finally start rebuilding their lives after losing almost everything to Sandy,” said Congressman Michael Grimm. “Having been on the ground since day-one assisting victims in the hardest-hit neighborhoods like Graham Beach, I know how incredibly essential these buyouts are. I'm thankful to Governor Cuomo for his continued support in getting Sandy victims the assistance they so desperately need. More work needs to be done in other hard-hit areas, but this is certainly a terrific step in the right direction." 

In addition to the Enhanced Buyout Program, NY Rising also offers a Home Acquisition Program for residents who are outside of determined buyout areas. Offering to buy properties in the 100-year and 500-year floodplains, the program will pay residents the pre-storm value of their homes.

"I'm pleased that Governor Cuomo and NY Rising has responded to Staten Island residents interested in the buyout program and has decided to expand Ocean Breeze to include Graham Beach,” said New York State Senator Diane Savino. “As I have said before, some land must return to nature, but acquisition for redevelopment will get people the financial assistance they need to relocate and move on with their lives, and when redeveloped in a smart and sustainable way, can transform our waterfront communities."

"This is great news for the residents of Graham Beach and I applaud the Governor for extending the buyout to this area,” said New York City Councilmember Steve Matteo. “Hopefully this community will soon be able to move forward with their lives. As the Governor said a little over a year ago, some of these neighborhoods were built in areas that should have remained part of nature. Its close proximity to the Bluebelt makes Graham Beach ideal for a buyout because it will ultimately help the residents nearby who will remain. Despite this good news, there is still a lot left to do. Many residents are still waiting for help, and we need to take this momentum forward for their benefit and ensure that all affected by Sandy receive the help they need."

The Enhanced Buyout Program allows the State to buy floodplain-located properties that are deemed to be most at-risk for future storms or natural disasters.  Aligned with requirements from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), all structures will be removed following the purchases so that the land can be used for environmental purposes. The properties will ultimately serve as a natural coastal buffer to better protect communities from the dangers of future storms.

"This is a good step,” said New York State Assemblymember Joe Borelli. “The State has led the way with the NY Rising Buyout Program and I am glad that the City acquisition program provides options for the rest of the storm affected neighborhoods of Staten Island." 

"The NY Rising Buyout Program has led the way in recovery efforts here on Staten Island,” said New York State Assemblymember Matthew Titone. “This expansion will be a welcome relief for Graham Beach residents and for those in surrounding communities once the land is returned to nature."

For more information, read the press release