Rep. Israel Renews Push to Make Condos, Co-ops, and Certain Common Interest Communities Eligible for Storm Recovery Grants
Three years after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, Congressman Steve Israel (D –NY) renewed his push and announced legislation that would make co-ops, condo associations, and certain common interest communities eligible for the same vital assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) available to other homeowners. Currently, co-ops, condo associations, and common interest communities are only eligible to receive loans and not grants. Following Superstorm Sandy, Rep. Israel wrote a letter and urged FEMA to make co-op and condo associations eligible for storm recovery grants. Unfortunately, three years later many co-op, condo associations, and common interest communities are still in desperate need of repairs and deserve the same vital assistance that other homeowners are eligible for.
Rep. Israel said, “A storm does not discriminate where it hits, and FEMA should not be discriminating against what type of homeowners it helps. It is disgraceful that three years after Sandy devastated parts of Queens and Long Island, that New York co-ops, condos, and common interest communities still do not qualify for critical storm recovery grants. I will continue fighting for passage of legislation to allow co-op, condo associations, and common interest communities to apply for federal grants from FEMA so these homeowners are eligible to receive the vital assistance they deserve.”
“Three years after Hurricane Sandy, some co-op and condo housing properties are still struggling to recover. Damage from the storm placed staggering financial burdens upon the middle class families who reside in co-ops and condos. These co-op and condo communities must be eligible for federal FEMA grants when disaster strikes. For many families co-ops and condos represent affordable housing, but without the FEMA safety net, another storm could make them unaffordable,” said Warren Schreiber, President of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, Inc., Bay Terrace Cooperative Section I, Inc. and Co-President of Presidents Co-op & Condo Council.
Co-ops are housing communities made up of individual apartment owners who help manage and maintain housing, common areas, and residential infrastructure. Housing co-ops exist in every neighborhood in New York City. FEMA classifies co-op associations, along with condos, as “businesses,” meaning they are eligible to apply for loans through the Small Business Administration, but not for FEMA grants. Currently, FEMA offers grants for recovery efforts through the Individuals and Households Program (IHP) as well as the Public Assistance (PA) Program.
Rep. Israel’s legislation would list co-op and condo associations as entities eligible to apply for assistance through FEMA’s Individual and Households Program (IHP). It would also add definitions for housing cooperative and condominium into the Stafford Act and expand the existing Stafford Act definition of Private Non-Profit Facility to include common interest communities, other than condominiums, that have common areas or own or operate facilities that provide services of a governmental nature, such as roads or bridges; therefore allowing them to apply for FEMA grants. The bill would also call for the rulemaking process to determine a new cap on IHP assistance for co-op and condo associations. Co-sponsors include Representatives Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Peter King (R-NY), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Grace Meng (D-NY), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Gregory Meeks (D-NY).