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NY Rising sets April 11 deadline for homeowner applications

The New York Rising Housing Recovery Program has set an April 11 deadline for homeowners who were victims of superstorm Sandy or two earlier tropical storms to apply for assistance to rebuild, elevate or repair their homes, state officials said.

The community buyout program, in which homeowners can "opt-in" to have the state buy out entire neighborhoods, also will close April 11, NY Rising announced.

Mindful of the newly imposed deadline, a Long Island coalition of agencies -- Long Term Recovery Group -- plans to help homeowners apply to NY Rising.

"NY Rising opened its doors in April 2013," said Jon Kaiman, the governor's special adviser for Long Island storm recovery, explaining the decision to impose an application deadline now. "So, we do have this last push . . . to try to let people know this is their last chance to sign up" for the homeowner assistance program.

The agency noted that New Jersey and New York City had already closed their applications processes, on Sept. 30 and Oct. 31, respectively.

NY Rising's deadline affects homeowners only, not owners of multiunit dwellings. The deadline does not affect homeowners already in the program, those in the process of receiving their NY Rising award, or those seeking clarification of their award, officials said.

It covers homeowners who sustained damage from Sandy in October 2012, and tropical storms Irene or Lee in 2011.

NY Rising has authorized payments of $408 million to 6,366 Long Islanders for Sandy-related repairs and buyouts, according to NY Rising spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio. Of that amount, $104 million in reimbursement money went to 3,064 homeowners for work already completed, while $163 million went to 4,877 Long Islanders for construction and repair.

The state has made offers totaling $141 million to purchase 360 homes on Long Island.

Kaiman said not all homeowners who have been awarded money have received it.

"We're literally tracking down folks," Kaiman said. "For whatever reason, they've been unable to pick up the check."

Meanwhile, the Long Term Recovery Group, a coalition of 145 nonprofit, volunteer and governmental agencies, plans to publicize the deadline and provide case managers at centers to help those apply to NY Rising, said Gwen O'Shea, president and chief exe-cutive of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, which manages the recovery group.

She noted that completing the application doesn't guarantee homeowners will get a NY Rising award, but if they don't apply, they can't be considered.

The coalition is heeding NY Rising's call to reach out to low- to moderate-income owners to make sure "those vulnerable and at-risk don't fall through the cracks, as it pertains to superstorm Sandy," O'Shea said. They plan to canvass households in Amityville, Babylon, Copiague, Lindenhurst, Long Beach, and the Shirley-Mastic area.

Though the recovery group is focusing on low- to moderate-income homeowners -- defined as $75,200 for a family of four -- O'Shea said case managers would assist any storm-affected homeowner.

How to Get Help

The Long Term Recovery Group is hosting several community events to make homeowners aware of the April 11 deadline for victims of superstorm Sandy to apply to New York Rising's homeowner assistance program. Case managers will attend to help with applications.

Long Beach Recreation Center, 660 Magnolia Blvd: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; March 27, 3 to 8 p.m.; and March 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Babylon Town Hall, 200 E. Sunrise Highway: March 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; April 4, 2 to 7 p.m.; and April 5, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Events are planned in the Shirley-Mastic area on April 5 and April 7, but organizers still are finalizing a location.

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