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Public Statements

Letter to the Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan - Review of New Jersey's Disaster Recovery Action Plan

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today called for an expedited review of New Jersey's disaster recovery action plan by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Christie Administration released its proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Action Plan on March 12, and submitted the final plan for federal review today. Once the State's plan is approved, more than $1.8 billion in federal resources will start to be dispersed to help homeowners rebuild and elevate their homes, provide grants and no-interest loans to small businesses, rehabilitate rental properties, and support local governments.

"With families still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy and the summer tourism season fast approaching, it is essential that this federal aid begin flowing as soon as possible," the Senators wrote to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, the official in charge of coordinating the long-term federal response to Superstorm Sandy. "Superstorm Sandy caused unprecedented damage, and New Jersey needs immediate access to our share of this new federal funding so that we can begin to rebuild homes, support businesses, and strengthen public infrastructure to mitigate damage from future storms."

In December 2012, the Senate approved a bipartisan emergency aid bill in response to Superstorm Sandy. However, Speaker John Boehner delayed House passage of Sandy relief legislation until January 15, 2013.

In total, Congress enacted $60.2 billion in Sandy aid, including $16 billion in CDBG funding, which was the single largest appropriation of CDBG funding. The state has submitted its plan to use funding from the first round of disaster CDBG funding being released by HUD. Additional rounds are expected. CDBG funding can be used for a number of purposes, including:

· Support for damage not covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Small Business Administration, or insurance;

· Federal grants for rebuilding destroyed homes and repairing damage;

· Buying out or elevating homes;

· Federal grants to support small businesses;

· Rebuilding various types of public infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and buildings

The text of the letter is copied below:

March 28, 2013

Dear Secretary Donovan,

We write to urge you to quickly review New Jersey's proposed Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan. With families still struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy and the summer tourism season fast approaching, it is essential that this federal aid begin flowing as soon as possible.

The State's plan details how New Jersey will utilize $1.829 billion in federal aid to help homeowners rebuild and elevate their homes, provide grants and no-interest loans to small businesses, rehabilitate rental properties, and support local governments, among other activities. In addition, this plan allocates more than 50 percent of funds to low-to-moderate-income households, and 80 percent of funds will be used in the most heavily impacted counties.

While your review of the State's plan should be thorough and any issues should be addressed appropriately, we believe it should be conducted without delay. Superstorm Sandy caused unprecedented damage, and New Jersey needs immediate access to our share of this new federal funding so that we can rebuild homes, support businesses, and strengthen public infrastructure to mitigate damage from future storms.

We appreciate your leadership in helping New Jersey recover from this devastating storm, and thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Frank R. Lautenberg
Robert Menendez

Letter is also available in PDF format below:
http://www.lautenberg.senate.gov/assets/action-plan.pdf


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