U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has announced HUD’s approval of New Jersey’s disaster recovery plan to help homeowners and businesses following Hurricane Sandy. Funded through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, New Jersey’s action plan calls for a $1.83 billion investment to support a variety of housing, infrastructure and business activities. Donovan, who also chairs President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, said the approval will allow the State to begin the long-term process of rebuilding damaged housing, restoring infrastructure, and stimulating business activity and job growth.
“Today we take another important step toward recovery and healing for hard-hit communities in New Jersey,” said Donovan. “HUD has worked closely with Governor Christie, Senators Menendez and Lautenberg, and the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to help design effective programs that will help small businesses reopen, get families back in their homes make communities more resilient as quickly as possible. We have also imposed additional internal controls and accountability measures and we will be working with the Inspector General to ensure that all funds are used as intended—to help families, small businesses and communities get back on their feet and rebuild.”
On Jan. 29, President Obama signed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 into law, providing a total of $16 billion in CDBG Disaster Recovery funding. HUD quickly allocated $5.4 billion to five states (including New Jersey) and New York City. New Jersey submitted its required action plan describing how the funds will be used on March 27th and HUD conducted an expedited review to enable the state to access these funds as quickly as possible.
“Today’s news sends a very powerful message that New Jersey is moving forward and that the Jersey Shore will be open for business this summer,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. “These funds will provide critical resources to our Sandy-impacted homeowners and businesses to reconstruct, rehabilitate and continue down the road of recovery. While there is much work ahead of us, we have come a long way during these last six months, and I want to thank Secretary Donovan and his team for their tireless efforts as we all work together to rebuild our great state.”
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 other federal assistance, private insurance, or other sources.
The New Jersey plan offers a range of programs to provide relief to homeowners of damaged or destroyed properties as well as grants and low-cost loans to eligible small businesses. These programs provide more than $1 billion in various housing programs; $200 million for economic revitalization; and $225 million for infrastructure and public service programs.