Hizzoner hopeful Sal Albanese says what Sandy victims need is a little human touch — and a big guiding hand from the city.
The former City Councilman called for the creation of city task forces to aid frustrated residents of Sandy-slammed neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens — brigades of representatives from government agencies, each one with a head coordinator to connect with neighbors one-on-one.
“People in each community should have someone they know by name that they can go to with their questions and who can connect them to the right resources,” Albanese said.
The man who represented Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst from 1982 through 1997 said he had met countless hurricane-hurt New Yorkers puzzled and struggling with insurance claims, mold remediation, and new building codes — unsure where to turn despite abundant public resources.
“The bureaucratic morass these people are encountering is overwhelming,” said Albanese. “They’re stuck in limbo right now, and it shouldn’t be that way, because we have a lot of smart folks and a lot of people who are wiling to offer services just to help. And we’re not coordinating these people.”
Albanese’s plan would dispatch trailers full of experts to storm-wounded areas, with counselors to connect families fighting insurance companies with pro-bono attorneys, Health Department specialists to dispense advice on harmful mold and to recommend remediation contractors, and Buildings Department advisors to guide homeowners through the maze of new zoning regulations. The candidate even suggested getting state agencies like the Insurance Department and Bar Association involved to help ward off unscrupulous profiteers. The task force leader would serve as a liaison with the community, and direct them to the appropriate authorities.
“The key is it would be inter-agency and on the ground,” Albanese said. “Because there’s nobody there right now.”Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderma