Rep. Rice Announces HUD Extension of Interim Mortgage Assistance for Sandy Victims in New York

HUD extends IMA Program to up to 36 months total for displaced New Yorkers paying a mortgage on a damaged primary home

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has agreed to extend the Interim Mortgage Assistance (IMA) Program beyond 20 months to a total of up to 36 months for victims of superstorm Sandy in the State of New York who are still displaced. The IMA Program provides up to $3,000 a month to displaced homeowners who are making monthly mortgage payments on a damaged primary home while also paying for temporary housing.

Under the conditions of the extension, after the initial 20 month period the State may determine that a homeowner needs up to 16 additional months of assistance, at which point the State is required to inspect the property to determine if substantial construction progress has been made. If substantial progress has been made, the State may provide IMA for the additional authorized period of time, up to a total of 36 months. If substantial progress has not been made, the extension of IMA will be provided only when the recipient agrees to participate in the newly established construction program within NY Rising’s Housing Recovery Program, under which HUD requires the State to contract for and manage the rehabilitation of the IMA recipient’s home on the recipient’s behalf.

The New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery requested the IMA extension in August, 2015. In December, 2015, Rep. Rice and NYS Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky urged HUD Secretary Julián Castro to approve the extension, noting that the process of recovering from Sandy has in many cases taken longer than 20 months, and without continued assistance through the IMA Program, many Long Island residents who are still displaced would be forced even deeper into debt after what has already been a long and expensive rebuilding process.

“I appreciate Secretary Castro and everyone at HUD hearing our case and recognizing that there are a lot of people on Long Island who still aren’t home, who still count on this assistance so they can afford temporary housing while they rebuild, and who would be thrown even deeper into debt if that assistance was cut off after 20 months,” said Representative Kathleen Rice. “I haven’t met a single Sandy survivor who wants to just keep receiving assistance and doesn’t want to be back home. They’re working hard to rebuild and recover, they’re working hard to get home, and extending IMA will help them complete what for many has been a long, exhausting and expensive recovery process.”

“I applaud HUD for its decision to extend IMA for an additional 16 months,” said Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. “In the three years since superstorm Sandy, many of my constituents remain displaced and continue to struggle with the effects of the storm. This extension will provide tremendous relief to Sandy victims who are still fighting to return home, and comfort in knowing that they will not be thrown into deeper debt as they complete the rebuilding process.”

Long Beach resident Kelly Graham, whose one-story home was flooded with more than a foot of water and sustained substantial damage during Sandy, was recently cut off from Interim Mortgage Assistance and has struggled to complete repairs to her house while splitting time between working, rebuilding, and appealing her insurance claim adjustment with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “I think it’s important that Interim Mortgage Assistance be extended because, under its structure prior to extension, people in my situation had nowhere to turn while our appeals still haven’t been completed. Without this relief, we would have been at risk of losing our homes,” said Graham.

“We are thrilled that the Interim Mortgage Assistance program has been extended,” said Long Beach City Councilman Scott J. Mandel. “So many of us in Long Beach are still in the process of rebuilding, making this program longer is absolutely essential. The City Council would like to thank Congresswoman Rice and Assemblyman Kaminsky for joining with us in advocating on behalf of those impacted by Sandy to ensure that Long Beach residents have all of the resources they need and deserve to rebuild stronger, smarter, and safer.”

“Extending Interim Mortgage Assistance for those still rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy is absolutely crucial to the recovery process,” Atlantic Beach Mayor George Pappas said.“On behalf of the residents of Atlantic Beach, I want to thank Congresswoman Kathleen Rice for fighting this fight alongside all of us here on the barrier island and beyond.”

“This extension of Interim Mortgage Assistance is a big win for the residents of the Village of Island Park who are still struggling to get back in their homes after Superstorm Sandy – and shouldn’t be forced to pay both rent and their mortgages while that struggle continues,”said Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty. “I want to thank Congresswoman Rice for all she’s done to protect the residents of her congressional district and greater Long Island. She continues to be a steadfast fighter as it relates to victims that are still in distress three years after the storm.”

Coleman Lamb ((202) 225-5516)

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