Awaiting remediation for the creek, local attention has turned to the more immediate threat of rain-driven flooding. Coney Island flooded badly from the remnants of Hurricane Ida at the beginning of September 2021. The two years since were a missed opportunity for resiliency improvements, local activists say.
“Instead of turning a blind eye to the suffering of basement and cellar apartment dwellers, disproportionately low-income and from immigrant communities, we must find the political courage to face this challenge by legalizing and making them safe.”
The legislation introduced in the City Council last week is geared at keeping tenants in flood-prone basement apartments out of harm’s way.
Environmentalists say an Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to protect the city from coastal storms using walls and gates fails to address other climate change-related threats, like heavy rainfall.
As of last month, the state had doled out just over $2 million of the $27 million set aside for the relief fund, according to recent data shared with City Limits. In total, 405 of the 554 New Yorkers who applied have been approved, and 352 have actually received the aid.
The city’s aging infrastructure combined with more intense rainfall is resulting in more backups, which took on average more than 15 hours to resolve during the last fiscal year that ended in June.
“Water main breaks have caused outages across my community and contamination from old pipes have left homes with rust colored water for days…The people of New York City deserve functioning infrastructure and real investments are the only way to get us there.”
The Ida relief fund for “Excluded New Yorkers” was set up by the city and state for people who suffered damages from the historic flooding but didn’t qualify for aid administered by FEMA because of their immigration status. But a year later, just a fraction of the funding has been used, and only 330 out of 554 have received a cash payout.
Brad Lander’s Basement Resident Protection Law would create a “basement board” to oversee the conversions and ensure residents of these apartments—called accessory dwelling units or ADUs—have access to tenants’ rights and basic safety protections. It comes a year after rains from Hurricane Ida killed 11 New Yorkers in basement units.
The ‘Rainfall Ready NYC’ plan unveiled last week offers short-term fixes to fortify the city against intense rain, as the administration continues to work on a more comprehensive long-term plan, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala told City Limits.