STATEN ISLAND (PIX11) — “It’s putting disaster against disaster. Does that make sense to you? It makes no sense to us.”
This is how Staten Island resident Thomas Cunsolo describes a weekend report in the Wall Street Journal detailing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development examining the potential of taking back more than $1 billion dollars of the remaining $3.6 billion in relief aid for those impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
Cunsolo who is the President of the Staten Island Alliance, a group focused on rebuilding efforts, says that the potential proposal is insulting.
“They want to do open competition for this money for disasters? Pitting one disaster against another disaster? So what are we supposed to say, well I had three dead in my neighborhood, I had ten dead in my neighborhood?How are they going to handle this competition?”
Mayor Bill de Blasio had the following reaction to the news:
“We’re going to make clear what we need to get our people back on their feet and to move forward with resiliency. I believe the federal government will support us in that.”
In a statement to PIX11 News, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, “We will fight to ensure that every one of New York’s needs are met before a national competition sends a single Sandy relief dollar elsewhere.”
Long Island Representative Peter King who fired off a letter to HUD says that New York and New Jersey should keep the money already designated for rebuilding.
“There’s not enough money for New York and New Jersey to be taking money out of that pot and sending it to another part of the country.”
How is the news affecting those who were impacted? Leonard Nicholas of Midland Beach says that the last 17 months has been worse than the storm itself.
“I think the aftermath was a bigger storm. It’s bad enough that you lost something, then you got to deal with [not getting it back]. Either way, it’s two big storms.”
PIX11 did reach out to HUD for reaction to the report. A spokeswoman issued the following statement;
“In regards to any disaster funding, no determination has been made on programming or allocations of remaining funds.”