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Nassau hosts federal Sandy task force meeting

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano told President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force on Thursday that federal programs need to be adjusted to assist residents whose homes were destroyed in last year’s storm.

During the county’s first meeting of the task force at the Nassau Office of Emergency Management in Bethpage, Mangano proposed allowing residents to remain indefinitely in area hotels while major repairs to their homes are ongoing.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday approved a 14-day extension of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program that would allow applicants to remain in hotels through Feb. 9. But, Mangano said, many Nassau residents will need significantly more time to complete their home repairs.

Of the 1,400 displaced homeowners or renters, 600 are currently living in hotels, Mangano said. “These are people without any short-term rental options,” Mangano said.

Mangano said he also asked Jamie Rubin, the task force’s New York State director, to adjust the from Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power [STEP] program to include flooring repairs and to bring in private sector municipal planning experts to assist local towns and cities.

Mangano said the task force members declined to make any financial commitments until after the expected passage of the $50.5 billion Sandy aid package next week.

The four-hour meeting was attended by representatives from Sen. Charles Schumer’s office, FEMA, the state Office of Emergency Management and officials from the towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay and the cities of Long Beach and Freeport.

The chairman of the task force is Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development. A HUD spokesman said the panel expects to hold additional meetings on Long Island.

Among the issues discussed at the meeting, county officials said, were mold removal strategies, assisting underinsured and noninsured residents and flood mitigation efforts for roadways, bridges, hospitals, sewage treatment plants.

Freeport officials, meanwhile called for bulkhead restorations while Long Beach officials requested assistance with boardwalk repairs and sand restoration, Mangano said.

The task force is expected to propose state and local rebuilding strategies within six months.

  

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