Lawmakers Working on Fixing FEMA's Co-op, Condo Blindspot

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    In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a certain subset of Queens homeowners were shocked to find out that what it comes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, not all New York City homes are created equal. As those who have dealt with the issue well know, the agency views co-ops and condos as for profit organizations and will not provide financial assistance to any of these buildings. Damage to lobbies, common areas of any kind including basements and boiler rooms — exactly the parts of buildings hardest hit — were ineligible for government grants of up to $30,000. Under current rules, even individuals who own apartments in co-ops could not get FEMA grants to fix floors and walls in their units because the co-op, not the individual, owns the real property — floors, walls, ceiling, etc. and the individual owns shares in the co-op. Now, according to The New York Times, a group of legislators from New York and New Jersey are introducing a bill that would change the law, enabling FEMA to give grants to these types of buildings. It would also remove the $30,000 cap on grants to buildings. One lawmaker told the Times that the bill will certainly face resistance, especially since co-ops are rare outside of New York City. “There will be many members of Congress that would say, ‘I don’t have co-ops in my district; why should I support this?’ My response would be, I don’t have tornadoes, but I support your assistance.” Have you had problems with getting FEMA assistance in rebuilding since Sandy? Has your co-op or condo run into this issue?

    Bill Would Alter FEMA Policy to Assist Co-ops and Condos [NY Times]

    Photo: DNAinfo/Theodore Parisienne

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