The Department of Housing and Urban Development today allocated over $3 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding to Rhode Island, representing the first round of CDBG grants from the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 signed into law by President Obama on January 29. This is the fastest HUD has allocated CDBG funding to grantees following the passage of a funding bill.
"It is critical for HUD to make this funding available as quickly as possible so families can begin rebuilding and repairing their homes and small businesses can get back on their feet," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force established by President Obama in December. "We continue to focus on providing funding and other resources to those in the most immediate need, while laying the groundwork for the region to rebuild in ways that make communities stronger, more economically sustainable and more resilient."
"I am pleased that Rhode Island is eligible to receive $3.24 million for Hurricane Sandy related housing and business needs from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds," Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee said. "While Rhode Island fared well in the storm compared to some of our fellow Northeastern states, these funds will greatly assist Rhode Island residents' unmet needs to repair their homes and businesses."
"I appreciate Secretary Donovan and the Obama Administration moving quickly to get these flexible recovery funds to Rhode Island so we can help homeowners, small businesses, and communities that were hit hardest by the storm," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. "We have a long way to go, but this is a significant boost to our recovery efforts."
The funding level of the first allocation is based on data from the FEMA Individual Assistance Program and the Small Business Administration's disaster loan programs, which HUD used to identify the areas of greatest need in the region impacted by Hurricane Sandy. New York City, the State of New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut were also included in this first round of allocations, which totaled $5.4 billion, or 34 percent of the $16 billion in CDBG funding included in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.
These allocations will be published in the Federal Register in the coming weeks along with criteria for their use. Following the State's submission of an action plan describing how funds will be used, HUD will conduct an expedited review to enable funds to be accessed as quickly as possible. HUD has worked closely with state and local partners throughout this process to facilitate action plans being approved as soon as possible.
The 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 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 insurance, FEMA, SBA, or other sources. HUD expects the first round of allocations to focus largely on housing and small business needs.
HUD, OMB and the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which was established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will provide oversight to prevent and identify waste, fraud and abuse. In addition, the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, established by President Obama to coordinate the federal government's efforts to support local rebuilding, has gone further by establishing a Project Management Office to monitor spending and progress to ensure the money is used as intended.