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Rep. Israel Wants FEMA To End ‘Discrimination’ Against Condo, Co-Op Owners

Bipartisan Measure Would Change Rules To Help All Homeowners
Rep. Steve Israel announces bill to make co-op and condo owners eligible for FEMA aid, July 29, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

Rep. Steve Israel announces bill to make co-op and condo owners eligible for FEMA aid, July 29, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – When superstorm Sandy hit nine months ago, condominiums and co-ops were among the residences damaged.

However, none of the half million New York City families who inhabit those co-ops or condos have been able to get a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y) has drafted a measure to change that.

Bob Friedrich heads the biggest garden apartment co-op in the city, the 10,000-resident Glen Oaks in Bay Terrace, Queens.

“We sustained over $320,000 worth of damage,” following Sandy, he told WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman.

None of that damage was covered by FEMA.

“Sandy didn’t discriminate against the roofs and neither should FEMA,” Rep. Israel said. “FEMA needs to quit discriminating against those communities.”

He said the co-op and condo owners are left out because of the way the law is written.

“Through sheer act of convenient oversight,” said Israel. “They categorize unfairly co-ops and condos as a business.”

The measure would change the rules to give the condo and co-op owners the same federal assistance given to other homeowners.

“You know what, co-ops may have hedges but it is not a hedge fund,” said Friedrich.

“I’m not going to kid anybody,” Israel said. “This is going to be very hard to pass.”

The congressman appealed to his colleagues to do what’s right to help those still struggling after Sandy.

“They may not have co-ops and condos, but I don’t have tornadoes. And I still support that assistance, because we are one country,” said Israel.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is a co-sponsor of the measure.

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