U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Ben Cardin and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown (all D-Md.) today announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will award $19 million in federal funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to Maryland communities hardest-hit by Super-Storm Sandy. These funds follow a previous award of $8.6 million in CDBG funding included in the Super-Storm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill passed by the Senate in January.
"Earlier this year I visited Crisfield to see first-hand the destruction of Super-Storm Sandy and the recovery underway. I promised residents of the Eastern Shore that I would continue to fight for communities struggling to rebuild lives and livelihoods," said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee that funds HUD.
"Today's announcement demonstrates that promises made are promises kept. These funds in the federal checkbook will help restore and rebuild critical infrastructure including roads, homes and businesses on the Eastern Shore. Super-Storm Sandy was one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the United States and had a measurable impact on Marylanders. Those hit hardest by this storm must know they have a federal government on their side."
"Much needed federal assistance has arrived for the families and businesses that are still rebuilding long after Hurricane Sandy. We have not and will not forget about their struggles," said Senator Cardin. "These additional Community Development Block Grants from HUD will help bridge the distance to making the region whole again. I will continue to work with all appropriate federal agencies to ensure that funds reach the people and neighborhoods most in need."
"By working with Senators Mikulski and Cardin, we are making important investments to help Marylanders recover from Super-Storm Sandy," said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. "When disaster struck our Eastern Shore, we made a commitment to make the needed repairs to our roads, our homes and our communities and that's exactly what these funds are designed to do. Together with our federal partners, we are making a meaningful difference to improve the lives of Marylanders."
The State of Maryland will be required to develop and submit an action plan to HUD. This plan must describe the needs, strategies and planned uses of the funds. HUD will review and approve the action plans to ensure that funds will flow to areas of greatest need within the state. CDBG disaster funds are flexible aid for states and localities that can be used to address severely damaged housing, infrastructure, and assist with economic development in areas impacted by Sandy.
CDBG disaster funds are flexible aid for states and localities that can be used to address severely damaged housing, infrastructure, and assist with economic development in areas impacted by Sandy. With this most recent announcement, Maryland communities will have received more than $73.5 million in federal funds related to Super-Storm Sandy. This includes $33.2 million in federal individual and public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $27.6 million in CDBG funding through HUD, and $12.5 million through the Department of the Interior to mitigate future storm damage for shore communities.
Senators Mikulski and Cardin fought to ensure the Super-Storm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill included an expansion of the CDBG program as well as provided HUD with greater flexibility in determining what CDBG grants can pay for so families can get the help they need most. In December, the Senators wrote to HUD Secretary Donovan and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate urging their agencies to cut through red tape and calling on HUD to use maximum flexibility in awarding their CDBG assistance. A copy of their letter is available here.
Team Maryland has been vigilant in seeking disaster assistance since Sandy hit the Atlantic coast last October. As Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski led the Senate's ultimate passage of the Sandy Supplemental.
With the full support and backing of Team Maryland, FEMA reversed its initial denial of Individual Disaster Assistance for Somerset County, approving approved this assistance, which provides critical housing assistance and disaster-related support for families and individuals coping with the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Senators Mikulski and Cardin also led the Maryland delegation in urging President Obama to support a Pre-Disaster Declaration, Disaster Declaration and Individual Assistance for Maryland counties impacted by Super-Storm Sandy.