Organization Name: Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Project Title: FloodHelpNY
Project Location: Citywide
Flood insurance rates in New York City are rapidly increasing. This year, New Yorkers who live in the flood zone saw their flood insurance rate increase by up to 18% -- and for families whose homes were damaged during hurricanes Sandy and Irene, increases were up to 25%. This means hundreds of dollars out of homeowners' pockets every year, which will especially hurt the tens of thousands of low- and middle-income families living along the coastline. For New Yorkers, these rising costs are just the beginning. FEMA is in the process of updating New York City’s flood insurance rate map; the new map, when it goes into effect, may double the number of properties required to get flood insurance, reaching 400,000 people. It's an expense many families cannot afford. The Center for NYC Neighborhoods launched FloodHelpNY.org because there was a clear need for consumer-friendly information about flood insurance and complex upcoming changes that will affect families who live in coastal communities.
FloodHelpNY.org is an interactive, simple to use website where New Yorkers can access information about their flood risk and insurance rates. Homeowners simply search for their address to get their specific flood risk information, including their current flood zone and whether it is expected to change. The website includes information on recent legislation impacting flood insurance, as well as easily understandable descriptions of the different flood zones and flood insurance policies. It also features information on mitigation options that homeowners can use to lower unaffordable premiums.
Through the Center’s ongoing on-the-ground work helping homeowners recover from Hurricane Sandy, we knew that changing and complex regulations around flood insurance needed to be more accessible and understandable for the general public. From the Far Rockaways in Queens to Canarsie in Brooklyn, more than 27,000 users have visited FloodHelpNY.org to learn about their flood risk, changing flood zones and insurance rates, with more than 37,500 total visits (many of the Center’s counselors use FloodHelpNY.org in their counseling work). The information empowers homeowners to make critical decisions regarding rebuilding, mitigation, and the future physical and financial sustainability of their homes.
The Center for NYC Neighborhoods promotes and protects affordable homeownership in New York so that middle- and working-class families are able to build strong, thriving communities. Established by public and private partners, the Center and its Network Partners meet the diverse needs of New York homeowners through offering free, high-quality housing counseling and legal services.