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Thursday, October 30, 2014

State to release $1.7 billion in Sandy aid
Schnirman: First round of CDBG money to provide relief for Long Beach homeowners, businesses
By Anthony Rifilato and Alexandra Spychalsky
Courtesy Sam Kinsley/Facebook
West End resident Sam Kinsley, far right, demolished her Sandy-damaged home on Pennsylvania Avenue in April.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a $1.7 billion plan to provide much-needed relief for homeowners and businesses that claim they have yet to receive adequate funding to rebuild.

City Manager Jack Schnirman said that the money will be allocated for New York residents through the federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program, and will help with reconstruction and rehabilitation of single- and multi-family homes as well as businesses.

“The money that residents and businesses have been waiting for is here,” Schnirman said. “It’s money for residents to fix their homes — grants, not just loans — and good, flexible money for businesses.”

The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 29, included $16 billion in CDBG-DR funding. The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the first allocation, totaling $5.4 billion, to five states and New York City eight days later. New York state submitted its required action plan, describing how the funds would be used, on April 3, and HUD conducted an expedited review to enable the state to access the money as quickly as possible.

“It is incredibly significant,” Schnirman said, adding that eligible homeowners can receive up to $150,000 to elevate their homes. “It’s the relief that we’ve been waiting so long for; it’s the relief that Congress should have passed much earlier. What it means is, residents can apply for it and get the money they need to fix their homes going forward.”

The plan includes $838 million to support a variety of housing programs, and $415 million to assist economic revitalization programs.

According to the state, the funding will give grantees significant flexibility in determining how to use the money. In general, the purpose of the funds is to meet recovery needs that are not otherwise covered by other federal assistance, private insurance or other sources. Some funds will also be used to repair damage from tropical storms Irene and Lee.

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