Rebuilding the Rebuilders

Diego Ibanez Jan 21, 2013

Diego Ibanez and Laura Gottesdiener
Federal Office of Emergency Management

Reconstructing urban centers after massive weather-related disasters is a quixotic mandate, which is why we,as the heads of Federal Emergency Management Agency, will construct a wind farm in the water off the eastern coast of the city as part of our comprehensive New York City reconstruction plan. To jump-start reconstruction, all residents in affected areas with children under the age of 18 or elderly or disabled family members will immediately receive a $20,000 voucher to do repairs and mold remediation to avoid long-term illnesses. This plan will also enact a one-year moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and residential property sales in affected areas in order to forestall vulture capitalism. (FEMA loans will be made available to assist landlords if they can demonstrate considerable financial hardship as a result of the moratorium.) In order to alleviate the housing and displacement crisis, we will also place pressure on the mayor’s office to begin an immediate count of all vacant properties within city limits, as well as pressure the city council to reinstate urban homesteading laws to permit the immediate use of any property that has stood vacant for more than 10 years.

We will also invest $20 billion of FEMA’s New York City budget in green energy technology and infrastructure with the goal of powering 20 percent of residential properties using wind and solar energy on a separate collective energy grid by 2015. The agency will also enact tighter employment quotas for all contract companies receiving FEMA funds: 80 percent of the workers must be local, 50 percent must be of color and 40 percent must be women. FEMA will spend $30 million on daycare centers and after-school programs in affected communities. Furthermore, we immediately change the agency’s policy tpward undocumented persons, who will now be entitled to receive full FEMA assistance.

Diego Ibanez is an organizer with Occupy Sandy. Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and one of the co-producers of Sandy Storyline.

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