Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont's Congressional delegation today announced the availability of long-term disaster recovery funds for housing, economic recovery and community infrastructure projects. That announcement followed federal approval of the state's plan to use $21.6 million in funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program.
"This funding will help communities, homeowners and businesses get back on their feet after Tropical Storm Irene and the spring floods," Gov. Shumlin said. The Governor said there remains a great deal of recovery work to be done, and thanked the Congressional Delegation -- Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch -- for their commitment to securing this latest round of funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Sen. Leahy said "These grants will help Vermonters struggling to recover from Irene. I was proud to work with the Appropriations Committee to provide funding for the disaster CDBG grants and was especially pleased that HUD agreed to provide a waiver to their targeting requirements to ensure this much needed funding could also be used to help Windham County residents. This funding will help them find new jobs, rebuild their businesses, settle a year-long dilemma of what to do with destroyed homes at risk of flooding again, and leave Vermont more resilient in the future. These funds will help fill gaps other federal, state and private funding have exposed."
"These federal funds are critically important in terms of the long-term recovery from the devastation caused by Irene," said Sen. Sanders. "The increased flexibility approved by HUD will allow the Shumlin administration to target the funds to the areas of the state that need the assistance most."
Rep. Peter Welch said, "On year after Irene, Vermont is well on the road to recovery but more work remains. These funds will help Vermonters get back on their feet by providing much-needed assistance to communities, homeowners and businesses throughout the state."
Gov. Shumlin said grant applications are now being accepted by the state Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development from towns, businesses, organizations, farms, and other groups impacted by last year's flooding. Funding is available to restore community infrastructure, build and relocate replacement housing and assist businesses re-open and recover. Potential applicants should review the information provided on the CDBG-DR website http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/funding/cdbgdr and email general questions to ACCD.CDBGDisasterRecovery@state.vt.us.
Funding for individuals and households for housing needs will be distributed through the statewide network of homeownership centers, also known as the NeighborWorks Alliance of Vermont, and will be administered by Gilman Housing Trust. The homeownership centers operate in all regions of the state and will provide direct assistance to homeowners and small rental property owners impacted by last years' flooding. The funding is available for rehabilitation and flood damage repairs, services, grants and low interest loans. Information is available at 888 MY VT HOME (698-8466).
Disaster case managers are available to assist Vermonters in need of recovery assistance. They play a critical role in helping survivors access all the public and private resources available. Individuals impacted by the storms of 2011 and who are not currently working with a case manager should call 1-800-846-9506.
The CDBG disaster recovery funds will also be used for the 25% local match for FEMA buyouts. Property owners and towns pursuing buyouts do not need to apply for the funding as the state will provide it directly with the assistance of the regional planning commissions.
Earlier this year, HUD allocated $21.6 million to the State of Vermont to target these resources in Washington, Windsor and Windham Counties.