Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced federal approval of New York State's recovery action plan to help struggling homeowners and businesses following Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee. Funded through HUD's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG -- DR) program, New York State's recovery action plan calls for a combined $1.7 billion investment in a variety of housing, infrastructure and business recovery activities.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, "Following the devastation caused by the major storms to hit New York over the past two years, our state worked closely together with our Congressional Delegation and local communities to put together a comprehensive action plan to help our homeowners and businesses recover and rebuild. Today's announcement is a tremendous boost of support for homeowners, businesses, and local governments that lost so much in Superstorm Sandy but it is not the end of the road for our recovery. Secretary Donovan has been a great partner thus far and I look forward to continuing to work together as we build our state back better, stronger than ever before."
Secretary Donovan, who also chairs President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, said today's approval will allow the State to begin the long-term process of rebuilding damaged housing, restoring infrastructure, and stimulating business activity and job growth. "Today we take another important step toward recovery and healing for hard-hit communities in New York," said Donovan. "We've worked closely with Governor Cuomo, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the New York Congressional Delegation throughout the entire process to help design effective programs that will help families get back in their homes, jumpstart local economies and make communities more resilient as quickly as possible. We have also imposed additional internal controls and accountability measures and we will be working with the Inspector General to ensure that all funds are used as intended -- to help families, small businesses and communities get back on their feet and rebuild."
On January 29th, President Obama signed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 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. New York State submitted its required action plan describing how the funds will be used on April 3rd and HUD conducted an expedited review to enable New York State to access these funds as quickly 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 intended 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 other federal assistance, private insurance, or other sources.
New York State's approach will focus principally on meeting the immediate recovery needs for housing and business assistance in the communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. These activities include $838 million to support a variety of housing programs and $415 million to assist economic revitalization programs. The full plan can be found at http://www.nyshcr.org/Press/ActionPlan/
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, "Now that this plan is approved, desperately needed dollars can start flowing to the homeowners and business owners who lost so much. It is a turning point in our recovery from the storm, but our work won't be done until houses are totally rebuilt, businesses are reopen, and roads, bridges, schools and other infrastructure has been repaired, stronger than it was before."
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "This is an important step forward for families and small businesses who were devastated by the unprecedented storms leveled across New York. These federal funds are critical for families who took the worst of Irene, Lee and Sandy so they can continue to rebuild and get back on their feet. We will keep working together to secure every federal resource we need for a full recovery."
Representative Peter King said, "I commend Governor Cuomo and Secretary Donovan for all their hard work, this is another important step in New York's recovery."
Representative Charles Rangel said,"I want to congratulate the Governor and Secretary Donovan for developing this comprehensive Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG -- DR) plan. I'm proud of the Congressional Delegation's united efforts in securing the funds. It is important that these investments are injected directly into local economies, so that every dollar we spend supports the families and small businesses that empower our communities. We still have a long way to go before fully recovery, but rest assured that New York will completely resurge and be even stronger."
Representative Eliot Engel said, "I am pleased to see that federal funds will soon begin to be distributed, through New York State, to the communities suffering from storm damage. I applaud Secretary Donovan and Governor Cuomo for their leadership. The families throughout New York State who experienced damage to their homes and possessions, and the businesses and communities, who were also hit hard, can finally begin the rebuilding process."
Representative Nita Lowey said, "New York State's disaster recovery action plan is critical to helping the families, businesses and communities impacted by the storms of the past two years get back on their feet. Governor Cuomo, Secretary Donovan and my fellow New Yorkers in Congress have all been true partners to help the families and communities affected by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee as quickly as possible. As the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight to secure additional disaster aid for New York and to make sure these badly-needed funds get out the door and into the communities working so hard to recover and rebuild."
Representative Jose Serrano said, "I applaud the work of Secretary Donovan, Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the NY Congressional delegation in developing this action plan and getting this funding flowing to New York. Our homeowners and businesses need long-term relief and help and with this agreement they will see it. This will help get affected parts of New York back on its feet and moving forward."
Representative Jerrold Nadler said, "The approval of these funds marks an important step in New York's ongoing recovery from Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. Thousands of families in communities across New York still face daily challenges of living in the aftermath of these devastating storms. The approval of this funding through HUD's CDBG Disaster Recovery program will be of great help to the businesses, homeowners, and families in these communities. I am grateful to Secretary Donovan and Governor Cuomo for their work in developing our state's disaster recovery action plan."
Representative Carolyn Maloney said, "This desperately-needed aid will be put to great use in the areas of our city and state most devastated by Superstorm Sandy. About half of this funding will be devoted to housing needs and another quarter for economic revitalization programs to help New Yorkers continue to get back to normal. I applaud Governor Cuomo and Secretary Donovan for making sure this funding is getting back to the community as quickly and as effectively as possible."
Representative Nydia M. Velázquez said, "Approval of this action plan is another step forward toward helping New Yorkers get back on their feet. These federal resources will help businesses, tenants and homeowners recover, making our communities stronger for the long term."
Representative Carolyn McCarthy said, "One of the most important roles the federal government can play after a disaster like Sandy is to help local communities cope with the cost of recovery and rebuilding. I'm grateful to my colleagues across the country who voted for this funding and to Governor Cuomo and Secretary Donovan for doing everything needed for New York to get this help."
Representative Gregory Meeks said, "Today's announcement by Governor Cuomo and Secretary Donovan is positive news for communities that are in desperate need of CDGB-DR funds. The approval of the recovery action plan is a pivotal step in the effort to rebuild devastated communities of the Fifth Congressional district, and supports the economic revitalization on which so much depends."
Representative Steve Israel said, "I am pleased that Secretary Donovan has approved the CDBG Action Plan. Our communities are still recovering from Superstorm Sandy, and this funding provides much-needed resources to recover and rebuild. I am glad the plan includes vital programs like grants for small businesses to ensure the resources are reaching those who need it most as quickly as possible."
Representative Tim Bishop said, "The approval of New York's plan to deliver federal aid to communities devastated by Sandy is a critical milestone in our fight for the resources Long Island needs to rebuild and recover. This is an investment in Long Island's future, with robust aid to homeowners and small businesses to speed their recovery."
Representative Yvette Clarke said, "After Hurricane Sandy, the people of Brooklyn resolved to work with each other to rebuild their communities, from Gerritsen Beach and Sheepshead Bay to Canarsie and Red Hook. We need to provide support as quickly as possible, to allow homeowners to return to their neighborhoods and businesses to re-open. I commend Governor Cuomo and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan on their work to secure this support for Brooklyn and other areas harmed in the storm."
Representative Paul D. Tonko said, "The waters of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee have come and gone, but the pain and destruction recedes much slower. I made numerous visits to flooded sites immediately following the storm and saw firsthand what needed to be fixed. While time has surely passed since these disasters struck, we haven't forgotten about the immense need for assistance and relief in the Mohawk and Schoharie Valleys. I fought hard for these funds behind closed doors in Washington, DC as well as on the floor of the House of Representatives, when many said we couldn't afford it. This investment from the federal and state government for repairing and rebuilding our communities is crucial. I commend Governor Cuomo for his partnership and laser-sharp focus on recovery and will continue to work with all our partners to make our comeback from these storms as strong as it can be."
Representative Bill Owens said, "New Yorkers have been hit hard by hurricanes over the past few years, from Lee and Irene in Northern New York to Superstorm Sandy downstate last year. Today's announcement is another step forward in fulfilling the obligation to help affected homeowners and businesses move forward and rebuild, and I applaud this effort."
Representative Tom Reed said, "Today's announcement provides relief to thousands of families still rebuilding in the wake of these devastating storms. It is the result of close partnerships with fellow New York Members and the Governor's office. We have been strong advocates for making emergency aid a priority to see that those impacted by storms Sandy, Irene and Lee get the relief they need and deserve. With this help, New York communities will be able to continue the rebuilding process following some of the costliest natural disasters in our country's history."
Representative Chris Gibson said, "Following Sandy, our Congressional Delegation worked together with Governor Cuomo to ensure we secured the federal resources we needed to recover. An effective recovery plan is a critical component of this process, and today's announcement is an important step forward in getting these aid dollars into the hands of those who need them most. I appreciate the federal, state, and local partnerships that made this possible, and I will continue to be an advocate for my district and our state as we work to fully recover."
Representative Michael Grimm said, "HUD's expedited approval of the NYS CDBG-DR Action Plan will help jumpstart recovery efforts. While the reach of the State plan is limited in NYC, these funds will allow us to move forward with a buyout plan in the hardest hit communities like Oakwood Beach. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo in expediting these acquisitions for redevelopment, and thank him and Secretary Donovan for moving quickly on the plan and its approval."
Representative Dan Maffei said, "Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and Tropical Storm Lee had devastating impacts on communities and the economy throughout our region. Today's announcement is another important step towards recovery for so many New York families, homeowners, and business owners affected by these storms. I look forward to continuing to work together to get our region's economy back on track and help New York families and communities rebuild."
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney said, "Hudson Valley families, communities and businesses have shown their resilience in their recovery from the devastation of Sandy, Irene, and Lee. I am grateful that this overdue and necessary assistance finally invests in the infrastructure, local communities and small businesses essential to our way of life."