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By Zachary Stieber
January 8,2013

NEW YORK—Community groups concerned with funding decisions regarding Hurricane Sandy recovery have formed a coalition to strengthen their cause. Matt Ryan, executive director of The Alliance for a Greater New York said that decisions need to be made with more representation from hardest hit communities, as well as labor, faith, and community groups. Ryan said he’s concerned there is little representation of these groups on state commissions that Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed. “Today, two months after the storm, thousands of New Yorkers are still without housing, facing grave concerns due to mold infestation, lack of heat, water, and electricity,” said Ryan at City Hall Tuesday.

Congress approved $9.7 billion on Jan. 4 to replenish the almost empty National Flood Insurance Program, but the bigger funding decision takes place on Jan. 15. Federal officials will decide whether to grant $51 billion in recovery funds to the New York metropolitan region. The coalition voiced support for the first funding passage but said as the second one comes through there should be more representation. Other speakers said they want to see an equitable rebuilding process, including jobs going to New Yorkers. Ann Valdez, member of Community Voices Heard, said that the public housing development she lives in, located on Coney Island, still has visible damage from the storm, including layers of sand washed into public areas.

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