U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced federal approval of New York State's recovery action plan to help 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.
"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."
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."
Senator Charles E. 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."
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.