Menendez Applauds Release Of Sandy Rebuilding Task Force’s Strategy
By Mel Fabrikant Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 03:51 PM EDT
WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who helped lead the New Jersey delegation in the fight for federal Sandy relief, issued the following statement in reaction to the release of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy by the specially-formed task force appointed by President Barack Obama.
“Superstorm Sandy brought severe flooding to Moonachie and Little Ferry, and the people of these communities have shown their resolve to rebuild and persevere in the towns they call home,” said Sen. Menendez, who came to Moonachie and Little Ferry’s Sandy-affected areas 24 hours after the storm had passed. “We need to rebuild New Jersey to be as resilient as its people. That’s why I fought as hard I did for federal Sandy relief to provide the resources that helped make possible the comprehensive rebuilding plan that HUD released this week. Many Moonachie and Little Ferry families returned to their homes, small businesses have reopened, and public safety departments are back in operation – all showing how far we have come from October 29. But we know much work remains to be done. I look forward to continuing to work with Administration to comprehensively rebuild our state. It’s a long road to recovery ahead, and it leads to a better and stronger New Jersey.”
Since Superstorm Sandy struck, Senator Menendez has worked tirelessly on behalf of New Jerseyans affected by the storm. Sen. Menendez led the New Jersey delegation’s efforts to pass the Superstorm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill, bringing the total Sandy aid enacted by Congress to $60.2 billion.
His efforts included numerous visits to Moonachie and Little Ferry. On December 16, Sen. Menendez came to Bazzarelli’s Restaurant in Moonachie as it was in the process of rebuilding to emphasize the need to pass federal Sandy relief. The following day, Sen. Menendez took to the U.S. Senate floor to give an impassioned address that detailed the storm damage throughout New Jersey as he continued to fight for federal Sandy relief.
Senator Menendez had repeatedly spoken on the Senate floor on this issue, convened hearings, and led a delegation of his U.S. Senate colleagues on a tour of storm-affected areas in New Jersey to focus on the importance of the Sandy Relief Package to help homeowners, businesses, and communities recover, and provide resources to rebuild coastal, transportation, and clean water infrastructure.
To help Sandy-affected homeowners in Moonachie, Little Ferry and throughout New Jersey, Sen. Menendez announced that U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) amended its rules pertaining to Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to allow Sandy-affected New Jerseyans who have started rebuilding their homes to apply for CDBG funding. Previously, CDBG rules required homeowners to wait months for their application to get approved before they could even begin the process of rebuilding.
This would have penalized homeowners who started the rebuilding process, and acted as a disincentive for the most expeditious Sandy recovery possible. This change in the rules – made specifically for Sandy-affected homeowners – followed Sen. Menendez’s advocacy with U.S. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan on the issue.