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Disaster-aid grants urged for for Sandy-damaged LI co-ops, condos

An apartment patio is filled to the brim

An apartment patio is filled to the brim at Town N Harbor, a co-op complex in Freeport. Because co-op owners seeking post Sandy assistance face different challenges than single family owners, many apartments and common areas in the complex still languish in disrepair long after the storm. (Feb. 2, 2013) (Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Sen. Charles Schumer is pressing federal housing officials to give disaster-aid grants to co-op and condominium complexes, to help them rebuild after superstorm Sandy.

The complexes cannot get grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to repair common property such as boilers, due to “inflexible bureaucratic rules,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a news release Wednesday.

“Forcing Long Island condo and co-op owners to shoulder the burden of millions of dollars of repairs on their own simply isn’t right, and the federal government should allow some of the funds from the Sandy aid bill to right this wrong,” Schumer said.

Unlike FEMA grants, disaster-aid grants from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development are “flexible” enough to help co-op and condo complexes rebuild, Schumer said. The housing agency should allow New York State and city to use a portion of their roughly $3.5 billion in Sandy relief grant funding to aid the complexes, he said. The grants are part of the $50.5 billion Sandy relief act signed into law on Jan. 29.

A spokesman for HUD said the agency will consider the request, as long as New York includes it in its “action plan” for the grants. State officials have made it clear to HUD that the request will be included in the action plan, a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

FEMA has said it is considering requests by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and other federal legislators to give disaster-aid grants to co-op associations for common property repairs.

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