Program to Help Sandy-Slammed Homeowners "Rebuild Right," "How-To" Seminar Ensures Flood Resistant, Energy Efficient Rebuilt Houses

Supervisor Kate Murray announced today at a joint press conference that the Town of Hempstead, Hofstra University’s Wilbur E. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies, Hofstra University Continuing Education, EmPower Solar and the United Way are partnering to host “Rebuild Right” – a “how-to” educational seminar for Sandy victims and all homeowners. The event, hosted at Hofstra University’s Helene Fortunoff Theater at the Monroe Lecture Center, will be held on Thursday, July 25th at 7 PM and will instruct attendees how to ensure that newly rebuilt homes are flood resistant, safe and energy efficient.    

“I encourage all homeowners, especially those impacted by Superstorm Sandy, to attend this informative forum on how to rebuild homes in a flood resistant, sustainable and safe manner,” Murray said. “It’s critically important that residents have good information when rebuilding so they can do it once and do it right.”

Murray observed that by rebuilding according to code and incorporating other best practices into a house rebuild, homeowners could avoid prospective future flooding, recurring mold issues as well as difficulty with homeowners insurance and future house sales.

The seminar will feature an expert panel that includes Mark Schwarz of the Hempstead Town Building Department, Rick Wertheim of the United Way, Ed Olsen of EmPower Solar and Patty Latshow of Wright Flood speaking to their area of expertise:

  • Mark Schwarz, an expert on building and permitting requirements for the Town of Hempstead, will speak about rebuilding damaged homes to conform to town safety and building code. He will also present information about new energy efficiency codes, both on the local and New York state levels of government. 
  • Rick Wertheim’s discussion, entitled “Building as a System” will include information about the “building envelope” (air sealing, insulating and energy efficiency), mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling and ventilation) and “green” details (water, interior, furnishings).
  • Ed Olsen’s presentation, “Resiliency in Renewables,” will focus on renewable energy, with sections including “Solar 101,” net metering, the LIPA solar pioneer program, economic benefits and financing options and tips on hiring a solar contractor. 
  • Patty Latshow, Principal Flood Coordinator for Wright Flood, will provide a “Flood Insurance Update, speaking about topics including rules, regulations and compliance related to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as updated changes to the NFIP since Superstorm Sandy.

“Hofstra University is very glad to be a part of this conference,” said Richard V. Guardino, Hofstra University, Executive Dean, Wilbur F. Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies. “As a south shore resident, I know full well the personal anguish and devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.  Tonight’s panel brings together four experts who have the desire and ability to aid Town of Hempstead residents in their rebuilding effort.  Important information will be delivered that can ensure that your rebuilt home will be a better and safer place for you and your family.”

"EmPower’s offices in Island Park were flooded from Sandy, but we were fortunate to be able to rebuild quickly and get back to work helping others do the same,” said David Schieren, CEO of EmPower Solar. “EmPower looks forward to helping Long Island communities not only rebuild again, but rebuild right with sustainable building principles in mind."

To assist residents still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, Murray and the Town Board directed the Hempstead Town Building Department to extend a waiver of Building Department permit fees for Sandy victims faced with home repair and/or reconstruction costs. Those fees, first suspended for Sandy victims in the aftermath of the Superstorm, are now being waived through September 1, 2013.

In the Building Department, all town fees are waived for Sandy-related structural repairs that conform to original dimensions and specifications, commonly referred to as “in-kind” repairs/replacement. Additionally, all town fees have been waived for temporary housing trailers and storage pods during construction. Furthermore, the town has eliminated a requirement for homeowners to obtain a variance prior to increasing their home’s foundation height to comply with FEMA flood height standards.

“The devastation left by Sandy brings a unique opportunity to homeowners who are in the process of re-building,” said Rick Wertheim, Senior Vice President of Housing and Green Initiatives for the United Way of Long Island.  “By incorporating the latest energy conservation details and Green Building practices, occupants will enjoy a healthier, safer home environment with sustainable operating expenses resulting in a more durable and comfortable home."

“We strive to do everything we can on the town level to assist residents as they continue to rebuild from Superstorm Sandy,” Murray said. “Learning how to ‘Rebuild Right’ helps homeowners to rebuild their homes to be more storm resistant, more energy efficient and just plain better than before.”