Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) applauded New York State for including grants for small businesses in their action plan for federal Sandy Aid through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Israel also encouraged HUD to quickly approve New York State's action plan, so the funds can be distributed to those businesses that need it most.
Rep. Israel said, "I am pleased to hear that New York State plans to include much-needed help to struggling small businesses in its plan for administering federal Sandy recovery funding. This will help our communities and local small businesses get back on their feet and once again thrive. It's been more than four months since the storm hit, and it's time these businesses get the help they need. I encourage HUD to approve New York State's action plan as soon as possible."
Last month, Israel joined Gerianne Reilly who owns Over the Bridge, a small garden and gift store in Bayville, to call for Community Development Block Grant funding through HUD for New York State to be used in part for small grants to help struggling small businesses recover as was done following Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. Ms. Reilly's store suffered extensive property damage during Hurricane Sandy, in addition to the loss of thousands of dollars in merchandise. While she was eligible for a Small Business Administration loan, she cannot afford to take any more loans without becoming overleveraged. With this news, and pending HUD approval, Ms. Reilly would be eligible to receive grant money to help her business recover and remain in the Bayville community.
Ms. Reilly said, "It's great news that New York State plans to use federal aid to help small business owners like me who suffered significant financial hardship as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Now it's up to HUD to quickly approve the state's plan, so we can actually apply for these much-needed funds. I thank the Congressman for his work on this issue."
As part of the $50 billion Sandy Aid package that was signed into law in late January, $16 billion was allocated for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding. This type of funding gives grantees significant flexibility in how best to use their funds to meet the greatest unmet needs.
The funding is allocated in stages to individual states and localities, which must then submit an action plan to the detail how the funds will be used specifically. On February 6, HUD announced New York State would be allocated about $1.7 billion in its first round of CDBG funding. Today, New York State submitted its action plan detailing how funds will be used, which will now be posted for a seven day public comment period. Once HUD approves the plan, funds can be distributed, so businesses like Over the Bridge can get the financial help they need with physical repairs and losses resulting from Sandy damage.