BY TRONE DOWD
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato is the latest New York City elected official to ask the federal government for expanded assistance in hurricane relief efforts, citing a number of legislative suggestions that would benefit her constituents and people affected by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria.
Pheffer Amato sent a letter to U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who leads the congressional Committee on Financial Services, with feedback on her district’s experience with hurricane recovery efforts. She specifically pointed to keeping and improving the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is up for renewal in November. At a press conference in the Rockaways, which was one of the hardest hit communities during Hurricane Sandy five years ago, Pheffer Amato voiced her pleas to prevent victims of recent disasters in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico from suffering from the same type of roadblocks her community faced during the recovery process.
“There is, now, tragically—but also importantly—an acknowledged collective urgency of getting the NFIP right,” Pheffer Amato wrote. “As leaders like yourself and residents like us know only too well, a working and equitable program of flood insurance is absolutely vital to our country’s chances to survive a changing climate.”
According to the assemblywoman, more than half of Americans live in a county adjacent to a coastline. With the effects of climate change worsening every year, scientists predict that flooding issues for coastal cities will become a more prominent and common issue.
“Insurance shapes the whole landscape of resiliency and recovery,” Pheffer Amato said. “Insurance impacts us long-term, steering where people live and can afford to continue to live. It touches on every aspect of recovery and rebuilding. The rest of the country is, unfortunately, about to experience some of the five-year horror show we went through—red tape, bureaucracy and blatant exploitation.”
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), state Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have all said that they agree with the assemblywoman’s effort.