HUD Announces First Round Of Allocations Of Hurricane Sandy Recovery Funds To New Jersey
By Mel Fabrikant Wednesday, February 06, 2013, 03:18 PM EST
The Department of Housing and Urban Development today allocated over $1.8 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding to New Jersey, representing the first round of CDBG grants from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 signed into law by President Obama on January 29. This is the fastest HUD has allocated CDBG funding to grantees following the passage of a funding bill.
“It is critical for HUD to make this funding available as quickly as possible so families can begin rebuilding and repairing their homes and small businesses can get back on their feet,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force established by President Obama in December. “We continue to focus on providing funding and other resources to those in the most immediate need, while laying the groundwork for the region to rebuild in ways that make communities stronger, more economically sustainable and more resilient.”
"This has been a long time coming, but after more than 100 days, Sandy victims in New Jersey can breathe a sigh of relief," said Congressman Bill Pascrell. "Residents in Moonachie and Little Ferry shouldn't have to live in fear of the next storm wiping out their homes. That’s why it was a top priority of mine to include long term mitigation funding for New Jersey, like CDBG, in this supplemental appropriations bill. This funding will allow us to rebuild a stronger, smarter Garden State that will be better prepared for the next storm, and I am pleased to see HUD move swiftly in getting these funds to residents when they need it most. While this is a good first step, I will continue to fight to ensure that New Jersey residents get every dollar they deserve to rebuild their lives."
The funding level of the first allocation is based on data from the FEMA Individual Assistance Program and the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan programs, which HUD used to identify the areas of greatest need in the region impacted by Hurricane Sandy. New York City, the State of New York, Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island were also included in this first round of allocations, which totaled $5.4 billion, or 34 percent of the $16 billion in CDBG funding included in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.
These allocations will be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks along with criteria for their use. Following the State’s submission of an action plan describing how funds will be used, HUD will conduct an expedited review to enable funds to be accessed as quickly as possible. HUD has worked closely with state and local partners throughout this process to facilitate action plans being approved as soon as possible.
The CDBG Disaster Recovery funding gives grantees significant flexibility in determining how best to use their funds to meet the greatest unmet needs. In general, the funds are intended for the restoration of housing and infrastructure as well as economic revitalization in disaster-impacted areas. The funds are to meet recovery needs that are not otherwise covered by insurance, FEMA, SBA, or other sources. HUD expects the first round of allocations to focus largely on housing and small business needs.
HUD, OMB and the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will provide oversight to prevent and identify waste, fraud and abuse. In addition, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, established by President Obama to coordinate the federal government’s efforts to support local rebuilding, has gone further by establishing a Project Management Office to monitor spending and progress to ensure the money is used as intended.