More than 900 Howard Beach residents, and close to 6,000 others in Queens, have dropped out of or were booted from the city’s Build it Back program since 2014, according to an analysis by Comptroller Scott Stringer.
The comptroller’s study, detailed in a Sept. 25 letter to the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations, states Queens had the largest drop in applicants to the trouble-riddled Sandy recovery initiative — from 9,284 who first sought help to 3,584 today.
Many of those dropoffs occurred in Rockaway, and mostly on the western end of the peninsula. In Howard Beach, there are now 936 fewer homeowners in the Build it Back pipeline. Broad Channel saw 530 applicants get out of the program.
Citywide, 20,275 people sought help from the initiative, first established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2013, but now only 8,310 have or are set to be assisted by the program.
Stringer — along with Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the Council’s Recovery & Resiliency Committee — said “the reasons why individual applicants have left the program” are not clear, but are “likely attributable to many causes,” including dissatisfaction with projected timelines, people turning to other sources of aid, getting lost in “the tangle of bureaucracy,” and some being removed for not meeting “stringent entry requirements.”
And in some cases, according to the comptroller, some applicants died while waiting for assistance.