Modular Homes Arrive in Staten Island for Sandy Relief
It’s been almost five years since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the Eastern Seaboard. The storm affected twenty-four US States and caused tens of billions of dollars in destruction. Last week, the city of Staten Island began work on a new program to replace damaged properties with modular homes.
Building Up Build It Back With Modular Homes
The program aims to replace properties around Staten Island and Queens damaged by Sandy with modular housing. Rebuilding these homes instead would be significantly more expensive, and take much longer. City officials hope the program will expedite the efforts of the over budget and long-delayed Build It Back program.
Amy Peterson is Director of the HRO, the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations. “With the delivery of our first modular homes on Staten Island, Build It Back is improving and expanding the ways we build resilient housing in New York City,” she said in a statement. “This option gets families home faster by cutting construction time in half and will serve as a model for storm recovery efforts across the country.”
According to a spokesman for HRO, crews began work on two damaged properties near Midland Beach last week. On Thursday, they were on site at 137 Freeborn Street to install a prefabricated, two-story double wide home.
To install these homes, builders first install a large block foundation on the site. Then, workers use a crane to set the prefab home onto the foundation. By using prefabricated modular housing, the city can save both the time and money required to rebuild entire homes and elevate them on steel columns.
Hurricane Relief Outweighs Official Concern
Lawmakers were quick to approve the program. They said the ability to move Staten Islanders back into homes outweighed any logistics concerns they had.
In an email to New York news organization DNAinfo, Councilman Steven Matteo stated: “My biggest concern is the difficulty of transporting these homes through narrow streets, and the impact that could have on these communities.” However, he continued, “I will work with the relevant agencies to make sure that impact is minimal. However, I think the benefit of a less expensive, high-quality, resilient home that can be built relatively quickly outweighs those potential problems—particularly since this program has taken so long and cost so much already.”
According to a source at Build It Back, the city plans to begin demolition of damaged properties in Queens later this month. They will start laying the foundations in October. Bid documents and the HRO state the program covers a total of ninety-eight, one- to four-family homes. The homes are mostly located in Broad Channel, Far Rockaway, New Dorp Beach, South Beach and Midland Beach.