STATEMENTS OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM NON-PROFITS, ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS FROM AROUND THE REGION AND THE COUNTRY ON THE HURRICANE SANDY REBUILDING STRATEGY
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, released the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy, which includes dozens of recommendations that will guide billions of dollars in federal investment to help the Sandy-impacted communities rebuild in a way that makes them better able to withstand future storms. Many of these recommendations will also serve as models for communities across the country as they prepare for the impacts of a changing climate.
Here’s what leaders from across the region and the country are saying about the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy:
Dr. Judith Rodin, President of The Rockefeller Foundation -- “The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy is an important milestone in the ongoing recovery from Sandy and will better prepare the entire country to more effectively respond to, and bounce back from, future storms. I commend Secretary Donovan and the Task Force for a resilience strategy that prioritizes cutting red tape, improved coordination, smart technology and innovative solutions like the Rebuild by Design competition. Going forward, we must build systems that are less likely to go down during a disaster and will come back more quickly if they do go down. We cannot prevent all future disasters from occurring, but we can prevent failing catastrophically by embracing, practicing, and improving comprehensive resilience strategies.”
Bruce Katz, Vice President, Brookings Institution and Founding Director, Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program --In the wake of recent high-profile natural disasters, cities, metropolitan areas and regions across the country are beginning to embrace resilience as the new planning norm. Resilience strategies represent a new approach to how cities plan, design, build and manage their communities (and particularly essential infrastructure services) in the face of a complex, uncertain and ever-changing future. The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy reinforces this bottom-up approach and shows how the federal government can be a reliable, supportive partner. The Strategy shows an unprecedented commitment to coordination across federal agencies and collaboration between the federal, state and local governments and key local constituencies. Instead of establishing new programs with restrictive statutory provisions, the task force recommends (and has already begun to implement) new locally-driven solutions through innovative design competitions and added flexibility for communities to decide how funds can be spent within and across jurisdictions.
Darren Walker, incoming president of the Ford Foundation --“A successful response to Hurricane Sandy must build back better and stronger than ever before – reimagining not just our communities, but how those communities work for our families. We must seize this moment to engage all residents, expand opportunity to all families, including the most vulnerable, and advance a smarter vision for long-term prosperity and progress across the region. The new report by the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force offers a promising roadmap in that direction.”
Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club --“We strongly support this program to make our coast more resilient as we rebuild from Hurricane Sandy. Including energy efficiency, distributed generation and renewable energy in rebuilding our grid is critical for a more resilient future. Having the most up to date building codes will further help save people money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Green infrastructure will not only help alleviate the impacts of future extreme weather events but improve the environment. More important this will help further President Obama’s bold Climate Action Plan, help create jobs, grow our economy and protect us from future storms. This proposal is a national model to deal with sea level rise and climate disruption. This is rebuilding smarter and better.”
John M. Dionisio, Chairman, New York Building Congress; Chairman and CEO, AECOM --“President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy task force strategy reinforces many of the critical risk and resilience issues that the New York Building Congress identified in our recent report, “Risk & Resiliency after Sandy.” A key opportunity in both strategies is the need for jurisdictions to adopt and enforce stronger building codes and standards – in ways large and small, building performance standards must reflect new realities. Another key issue is the need to coordinate our infrastructure investment regionally. We must all work together to strengthen our cities and the regions against storms and other threats.”
Peter Lehner, Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council-- "This new report makes it clear: we need more local clean energy alternatives and energy efficient, resilient construction if we're going to ensure our communities do not suffer the same fate when the next Sandy hits. And the report's valuable assemblage of scientific data reminds us yet again of the relationship between more frequent and intense storms and our dirty energy addiction. We look forward to reviewing the report in detail and to working with the Administration and Congress to take on the climate-related challenges ahead."
Michael Hecht, President and CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc. --"Small business recovery is critical to restarting the economy in post-disaster environments, and the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy provides a clear path toward this business recovery for New York and New Jersey. We look forward to continuing to work with our counterparts in the Northeast to share best practices on disaster recovery and ways to create a resilient economy."
Staci Berger, Executive Director,Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey-- "The devastation left behind by Sandy is unprecedented and required an 'all hands on deck' approach which the Obama administration has taken. We appreciate the leadership and willingness of our federal partners to ask for and listen to feedback from affected families and the community groups supporting them through this recovery. This report incorporates ideas to make New Jersey’s Sandy rebuilding effort, and future disaster recovery plans more efficient and effective by: providing more resources for housing counseling, addressing foreclosure risks, and allowing for increased public input.”
Vin Cipolla, President of the Municipal Art Society --"In the fall of 2012 New York City joined the not-so-unique ranks of other global cities confronted with climate uncertainty. We know how crucial federal leadership and assistance is to our learning lessons and moving forward in creative ways to build our own resilience. The report of the Task Force makes clear our collective challenge to mobilize 'all hands on deck' to benefit this region, and hopefully inform efforts in other parts of the country facing similar challenges. Municipal Art Society is proud to be one of the lead partners on the Rebuild by Design effort aimed at stimulating and executing resiliency projects to protect communities at greatest risk."
Vishaan Chakrabarti, Associate Professor of Real Estate Development and Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE), Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation; Principal, SHoP Architects --"By laying out a holistic and transparent blueprint for a more resilient future, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy takes on the tough issues we need to resolve to protect our citizens, our coastlines, and our vulnerable inland areas. The Obama Administration is stating in no uncertain terms that climate change is upon us, and we must act decisively and cooperatively to defend ourselves by bridging existing divides across states and regions. This Strategy document is an enormous step forward in the call to protect housing and small business, and seeks to rationalize the myriad issues we face after a catastrophic storm, from flood insurance, to gasoline and electrical delivery, to data sharing. The Federal government cannot solve our every problem, but with this report it is showing the leadership we need in an era of global warming."
David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute –“Van Alen Institute compliments the President's Hurricane Sandy Task Force on a comprehensive report that presents interdisciplinary and long-term strategies for a stronger region. It is inspiring to see the Task Force encourage its partners to develop schemes that go beyond merely theoretical reflections to include realistic plans for implementation and investment. Through extensive collaborations across sectors and communities, the Task Force questions how man-made environments can be reconceived, reshaped, and redesigned to provide increased opportunities for modes of resilience that work with, rather than against, nature. Van Alen Institute is a proud collaborator in the Task Force’s Rebuild By Design initiative.”
Joseph Pupello, President & CEO, Zone A New York --“The HUD Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force engaged local stakeholders to strategically address both urgent and long-term needs. This is Federal leadership at the local level! Federal leadership was paramount in responding expeditiously to the unprecedented and devastating events of Hurricane Sandy. The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force engaged our organization and a wide range of local stakeholders to strategically address both urgent and long-term needs.”
Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO, American Red Cross, Greater New York --"In the days before, during and after the landfall of Superstorm Sandy the American Red Cross was on the ground across 11 states helping individuals and communities reeling from the storm. We commend President Obama, Secretary Donovan and the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force for their work and for engaging nearly 450 stakeholders in formulating the Rebuilding Strategy’s recommendations. This Rebuilding Strategy will help the red cross and many other community-based organizations to continue carrying out their missions of helping those in times of need."
Kevin Law, President and CEO, Long Island Association -- “The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force’s Strategy Report lays the foundation to make it easier for small businesses to get back on their feet, ensure improved regional coordination, and protect the communities of Long Island from future storms, and thus I commend President Barack Obama, Secretary Shaun Donovan, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and NY State Task Force Director Jamie Rubin for their work and commitment to rebuilding our region stronger and smarter than before.”
Bill Dressel, Executive Director, New Jersey State League of Municipalities --“The New Jersey League of Municipalities would like to thank Secretary Donovan and the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force for leading the effort to assist our municipalities in developing a blueprint for the State’s recovery. The League looks forward to continuing to work with our Federal, State and local partners to advance our State’s on-going recovery efforts.”
Peter Elkowitz, President and CEO, Long Island Housing Partnership, Inc. -- “Hurricane Sandy magnified the importance of addressing Long Island’s housing needs, and LIHP has and will continue to work with many individuals and families affected by the storm. The Strategy Report contains important recommendations that will help people repair and get back into their homes, protect responsible homeowners from being foreclosed on as a result of the storm, ensure homes and apartments are better protected, and encourage affordable and fair housing opportunities in the region. LIHP looks forward to working with HUD to realize this vision.”
Barbara George Johnson, Executive Director, John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy, Thomas Edison State College-- “I want to thank the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force for including the voices of urban communities as a part of this process via the engagement of the Watson Institute. I am delighted to hear that a large percentage of the concerns addressed by the various organizations and entities present at the round tables will be included in the recommendations. I am particularly happy to see that small business interests were seen as a major priority in ensuring that local economies recover and thrive after storms and natural disasters like Sandy.”
Denise Scott, Managing Director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) New York City –“The Task Force's recommendations reflect the best ideas from conversations with local constituencies engaged in rebuilding our Sandy devastated communities. The document provides essential tools for building sustainable, resilient communities through well-coordinated partnerships between government and the not-for-profit sector, particularly neighborhood-based organizations that are trusted by and serve our most vulnerable citizens.
Dominic Sims, CEO, International Code Council, Inc.-- “The use of current codes and standards to construct and repair homes supports the President’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force objective to create resilient, energy-efficient structures. To construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient homes, ICC and the Task Force urge jurisdictions to adopt the most current versions of the International Building Code and International Residential Code.”
Rae Zimmerman, Professor of Planning and Public Administration, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University --“The Hurricane Sandy Task Force Rebuilding Strategy reinforces many important directions for resiliency as the rehabilitation of damaged areas moves forward, and it is encouraging to see the collective action and enthusiasm the strategy reflects. It is important to underscore that many of these actions are often good for normal times as well as extremes, they require an accounting system to ensure that spillover effects on adjacent areas are positive, and are accompanied by vigilance to keep societal memory current.”
Rick Bell, FAIA, Executive Director, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter –“The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter commends HUD and its partners in the Rebuilding by Design Competition for focusing attention on the power of architecture to create safe and vibrant communities that meet the challenges posed by climate change. Architects have the expertise, experience and specialized knowledge to rebuild better, smarter and with heightened attention to the requirements of resilient methods of construction.”
Randi Shubin Dresner, President and CEO, Island Harvest-- “We commend President Obama, Secretary Donovan and the Task Force for incorporating into the report many of the concerns of local organizations actively engaged in response and recovery in the weeks and months following Superstorm Sandy. The Task Force’s extensive outreach has resulted in a series of positive recommendations to ensure Long Island is best equipped to respond to future disasters utilizing federal funding.”
Stuart Rabinowtiz, President, Hofstra University -- “Given the prestigious membership of the Task Force and its outreach to the affected communities, I am confident that the report will address the key issues of concern and provide a workable framework for moving forward.”
Wellington Chen, Executive Director for The Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation --“Superstorm Sandy ravaged Chinatown, leaving many in our community without electricity, heat, food, and resources for several weeks. The Chinatown Partnership and Chinatown B.I.D. thank the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force for supporting Chinatown’s post-Sandy rebuilding and recovery efforts and assembling this task force to ensure the resilience of Chinatown and our friends in other affected neighborhoods.”