JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (PIX11) — Advocates are sounding the alarm, saying little has been learned from the lessons of Hurricane Ida, which killed nearly a dozen New Yorkers when their basement apartments flooded.

They rallied in Queens Friday to highlight hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who remain at risk if their basement apartments flood.

Of the 13 New Yorkers killed, 11 lived in basements when the water rushed in and overwhelmed them. There was a lot of talk about regulating and legalizing the hundreds of thousands of illegal basement dwellings after the tragedy, but not much has happened, advocates said.

“We are no better off today than we are a year and a half ago,” said Ryan Chavez at the event.

Chavez is among those pushing to legalize basement apartments and make them safe.

They see an opportunity through state budget debate, which also sets policies to make converting basements to safe, legal apartments easier. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has prioritized increasing housing stock this year.

“This is a win-win,” argued Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas of Queens. “We can help tenants be in safe housing and help our homeowners looking for additional income with our lives being stretched right now.”

A pilot program was already in East New York, attempting to convert basements. However, it has been largely unsuccessful, according to Chavez, who helps run the program.

“If you just want to legalize the basement apartment, you have to comply with all of the state law all the way up to the rooftop,” Chavez explained. “This is just extremely expensive to the average homeowner in New York City. It’s just too expensive to do.”

“Reform the law so that if a homeowner wants to convert their basement, they really only have to focus on the health and safety of the basement,” Chavez said.