Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, approved New York City's disaster recovery plan to help homeowners and businesses following Hurricane Sandy. 

New York City's action is funded through HUD's Community Development Block Grant Program and calls for a combined $1.77 billion investment in a variety of recovery activities. 

Donovan, who also chairs President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, said Friday's approval allows the city to begin the long-term process of rebuilding housing, restoring infrastructure and stimulating business activity.

"This plan is truly a neighborhood-based approach to disaster recovery," Donovan said. "We’ve worked closely with Mayor Bloomberg, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and the New York Congressional Delegation throughout this process to help families get back in their homes, jumpstart local economies and make communities more resilient."

In January, 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 York) and New York City.

"This is an important day in the recovery process for families and small businesses who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. "These critical federal funds will help families get back on their feet and help hard hit communities rebuild stronger and smarter. We will keep working together to secure every federal resource we need for a full recovery."