Rhode Island's Congressional delegation today announced that the state will receive a $1.5 million National Emergency Grant (NEG) from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist with post-Hurricane Sandy cleanup and recovery efforts. This federal funding builds on the major disaster declaration for the state approved by President Obama in the last several days, which makes federal assistance -- including these emergency relief funds -- available to supplement state and local response and recovery efforts.
These NEG funds will be used to provide temporary employment on projects to assist with cleanup, demolition, repair, renovation, and reconstruction of destroyed public structures, facilities, and lands within the affected communities, as well as to deliver humanitarian aid and safety assistance, as needed. In addition, these federal funds may be used to perform work on the homes of economically disadvantaged individuals who are eligible for the federally-funded weatherization program, with priority given to services for the elderly and individuals with disabilities. The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training may use the funding to create about 75 temporary jobs for eligible dislocated workers to assist with clean-up and recovery efforts as a result of the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
"This federal funding is a smart investment that will help hire unemployed residents to aid the state's recovery. We appreciate President Obama and Secretary Solis for speeding much needed federal assistance to Rhode Island," said U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline in a joint statement.
"This funding is a win-win for Rhode Island," Governor Lincoln Chafee said. "Our state's recovery efforts will be bolstered and unemployed Rhode Islanders will be put to work. This is another example of the Obama Administration's strong, consistent support for Rhode Island throughout Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. I appreciate the swift approval of these and other funds and on behalf of the people of our state thank President Obama and Secretary Solis."
The federal funds are being awarded to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to assist with the restoration of public lands and infrastructure while also providing temporary work to those in need of employment. Of the $1.5 million announced today, $500,000 will be released immediately. Additional funding up to the amount approved will be made available as the state demonstrates a continued need for assistance.
On November 3, President Obama signed a major disaster declaration for Washington, Bristol, and Newport counties, providing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance in three of the state's five counties and Hazard Mitigation statewide.
National Emergency Grants are part of U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis discretionary fund and are awarded based on a state's ability to meet specific guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.doleta.gov/NEG.
According to the state, 122,000 Rhode Island residents experienced power outages as a result of Hurricane Sandy. FEMA has estimated the damage to public roads and buildings in the affected counties to be approximately $5.5 million.