On Thursday, September 18, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), Jamie Rubin, joined the Center for NYC Neighborhoods (“the Center”) for its Equitable Resiliency in NYC Event, held at the Impact Center for Public Interest Law at the New York Law School.
The forum, which coincided with the release of the Center’s new “Rising Tides, Rising Costs” report, aimed to discuss the impact of Superstorm Sandy– and mounting flood insurance premiums– on low-and-moderate income households throughout the City’s five boroughs.
Serving as keynote speaker, Mr. Rubin detailed the State’s own efforts to make New York even stronger, better and more resilient than before.
“We have pursued two simultaneous tracks,” he said of GOSR. “The first, to meet New York’s immediate recovery and rebuilding needs, and the second, to invest in the long-term resiliency and growth of the State. Utilizing all available resources, we strive to develop initiatives that complement and build upon one another- thereby maximizing benefit to the communities we serve on a micro and macro level.”
Mr. Rubin went on to describe each of the State’s NY Rising Programs, including the Housing Recovery, Small Business, Infrastructure and Community Reconstruction initiatives. Under the umbrella of Housing Recovery, the State helps storm-affected homeowners to make repairs and seek reimbursement for work already completed. The program also oversees the State’s Buyout & Acquisition endeavor, which seeks to address neighborhoods in Staten Island and Long Island that regularly put homes, residents and emergency responders at high risk due to instances of repeated flooding.
He also spoke to the State’s Optional Elevation & Mitigation measure, which is supporting New Yorkers in the flood plain to elevate their homes, even if they have not been required to do so.
“Our office feels strongly that elevation is a homeowner’s best choice- a practical and enduring solution that can safeguard life and property against the dangers of future storms,” he stated.
Mr. Rubin said that, although the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act provides welcomed and short-term relief, it does not replace or diminish the ongoing need to invest in the security of New York’s homes.
“Elevation is the only tried-and-true way to stabilize insurance premiums over the long-run, thereby reducing associated costs,” he said. “By encouraging homeowners to take part in the Optional Elevation & Mitigation measures, the State is going above and beyond and making a substantial and unprecedented investment in its homes and coastal communities.”
He additionally discussed the progress being made by the Small Business, Infrastructure and Community Reconstruction programs, as GOSR works to implement a strong focus on resiliency into each of its program areas.
Following the remarks, representatives from the New York City Mayor’s Office and several non-profit groups participated in a panel discussion.
Established in 2008 as a response to the foreclosure crisis, the Center aims to promote and protect affordable and sustainable homeownership in New York City. As the central hub of a diverse network of housing counseling and legal services organizations, the Center leverages private and public resources to ensure that homeowners Citywide have access to high quality foreclosure and prevention services. The Center has assisted more than 30,000 homeowners in New York City since its founding.