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New Jersey hardest-hit neighborhoods get aid

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and other policymakers on Capitol Hill are continuing their efforts to help homeowners and neighborhoods devastated by the aftermath of super storms. 

Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, approved a New Jersey recovery plan that will allot $1.83 billion in aid to help households and communities to rebuild from the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Last week, Donovan approved a similar recovery plan for New York, which allocated $1.7 billion to assist neighborhoods affected by three storm systems: Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. 

The plan is part of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act 2013, which commits $16 billion to HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG) program.

Donovan, who also chairs President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, said Monday’s approval will allow New Jersey to begin the long-term process of rebuilding damaged housing, restoring infrastructure and stimulating business activity. 

"Today we take another important step toward recovery and healing for hard-hit communities in New Jersey," Donovan said. 

He added, "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."

On Jan. 29, HUD allocated $5.4 billion in aid to five states, including New Jersey.

New Jersey officials submitted a required action plan for disaster funding on March 27, describing how funds will be used to help neighborhoods harmed by high-powered storms.

"These funds will provide critical resources to our Sandy-impacted homeowners and businesses to reconstruct, rehabilitate and continue down the road of recovery," said Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

He added, "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."

HUD also will work with the Office of the Inspector General to ensure all funds are used as intended — to help families, small businesses and communities get back on their feet.

The CDBG Disaster Recovery funding gives grantees flexibility in determining how best to use the funds to meet the greatest needs. In general, the funds are intended for the restoration of housing and economic revitalization in disaster-impacted areas. 

More importantly, the funds are to meet recovery needs that are not otherwise covered by other federal assistance, private insurance or other sources.

"This infusion of federal funding will help New Jersey continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy and ensure that our state is rebuilt stronger and better prepared for future storms," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ.  

He added, "Families that are rebuilding their homes, small businesses that are getting back on their feet, and communities that are repairing damaged public infrastructure will all benefit from this federal grant program. We worked hard to get this funding flowing into New Jersey, and we will continue working with the State to ensure we receive the assistance necessary to fully recover from Superstorm Sandy."

New Jersey will focus on assisting households and communities using $1 billion in promised federal support for housing programs, $200 million for economic revitalization and $225 million for infrastructure and public service programs.

cmlynski@housingwire.com

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