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Terri Ludwig: Rebuilding After Superstorm Sandy

Statement on Superstorm Sandy Recovery and Rebuilding Strategy from Terri Ludwig

Enterprise Applauds the Obama Administration

Enterprise applauds the Obama administration for putting United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan in charge of long-term Superstorm Sandy recovery plans for both New York and New Jersey. A native New Yorker and the former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Secretary Donovan is well equipped to lead the rebuilding ahead.
At Enterprise, our hearts are with every community suffering in Sandy’s aftermath and with the tens of thousands of people across the region who have lost their homes, the foundations upon which people and neighborhoods thrive.
Enterprise is strongly committed to recovery, rebuilding and resilience. We are working closely with our partners, Secretary Donovan, key members of Congress, and the Obama Administration to ensure that community organizations have the resources they need now and the necessary support to rebuild over the long term.
Enterprise has worked closely with its partners over the past seven years to rebuild nearly 10,000 homes along the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, and we have learned that transparency, coordination and patience are critical to recovering from an event of this magnitude. Following is a summary of our emerging recovery and rebuilding strategy:
  1. Direct Partner Technical Assistance: Enterprise has helped to create more than 35,000 affordable homes throughout the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region, key areas affected by the storm. We are working directly with affordable housing owners and managers to assess storm damage, identify resources available for repair and fill capacity gaps to ensure that building systems are brought back online quickly. In doing so, we are leveraging our partners’ capacity with the expertise of Enterprise’s asset management, construction management and energy services departments. This combined effort is designed to ensure that there is appropriate attention given to both the pace and quality of repairs.
  1. Marshaling Federal and Local Resources: Enterprise is working closely with our local, city and state partners, key members of Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure that any legislation passed in response to Sandy meets local needs. Enterprise facilitates a weekly convening of local and state housing officials from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to create a coordinated legislative strategy.

    We are using our significant experience in federal disaster response to both inform Sandy response legislation and to share best practices with local partners. Knowing that access to accurate, up-to-date information is a common obstacle after disasters of this magnitude, Enterprise is tracking, compiling and distributing information on federal waivers and announcements affecting existing programs, including through social media outlets.
  1. Data Analysis and Evaluation: Our experience in Gulf recovery efforts has raised the need for quality data analysis to assess the long- and short-term impacts of recovery efforts.  Enterprise’s Knowledge Impact and Strategy (KIS) team has produced helpful analytical tools, maps and graphs that use public data to identify affected areas. We are working with local academic partners to broaden this effort to create a “recovery index,” which would track the recovery process, population, investment and other key indicators. Enterprise is currently evaluating the best way to leverage the data to benefit rebuilding efforts.
  1. Housing Solutions: The City of New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development department has convened Enterprise and other local intermediaries to develop a programmatic and financial response to the significant loss of and damage to one- to four-unit family homes. In the coming weeks, we expect to clarify our specific role in supporting homeowners in the rebuilding process. Additionally, in coordination with local agencies, Enterprise is identifying vacant apartments within our housing portfolio to temporarily house families displaced by storm damage. We are also working with community partners to make new apartments that are just completing construction available for displaced families. At least 100 apartments have been identified to date.
The devastation unleashed by the storm reminds us all of the importance of having a safe place to call home, and of helping neighbors in need. It will take a coordinated effort among the public and private sectors and philanthropy to rebuild effectively.   It will take years for the communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy to fully recover, but together we will rebuild stronger than ever.
For more information, visit the Recovery Resources page on our website, which is regularly updated with news and information targeted to community development corporations and affordable housing owners.

Jon Searles