HUD APPROVES FIRST STAGE OF RHODE ISLAND’S DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN
WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) New England Regional Administrator Barbara Fields today announced HUD’s approval of the first stage of Rhode Island’s disaster recovery plan following Hurricane Sandy. Funded through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, Rhode Island’s initial action plan calls for a $625,612 investment in a variety of housing and infrastructure activities in Washington and Newport Counties. The full plan, when approved, will total $3.2 million. Read Rhode Island’s disaster recovery plan.
The federal government has been on the ground since Sandy struck and will continue to provide substantial resources and technical assistance until the entire region is rebuilt safer, better and stronger. To date, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided $6.5 million in individual and public assistance in Rhode Island.
Fields said today’s approval will allow the State to begin the long-term process of rebuilding damaged housing and restoring damaged public facilities and infrastructure.
“Homeowners and businesses in Washington and Newport Counties took a big hit from Hurricane Sandy but we’re committed to help Rhode Island fill gaps that are not covered by other federal assistance or private insurance,” said Fields. “We’ve worked closely with Governor Chafee and his Administration throughout the entire process to help design effective programs that will help families repair their homes and restore damaged public facilities and infrastructure.”
“Rhode Island was fortunate that we did not sustain more damage during Hurricane Sandy, but there were several hard hit businesses and residential homes in Washington and Newport Counties,” said Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee. “With this first stage of Community Development Block Grant funding, we can help residents and business owners get well on their way to repairing the damage from last fall.”
"I appreciate HUD working with the state on a plan to use these flexible recovery funds to help Rhode Island homeowners, small businesses, and communities that were hit hardest by the storm," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed. "This federal funding will help Rhode Island to continue moving forward with our recovery efforts."
"Scores of Rhode Island families and businesses were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and many are still struggling to recover," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who brought members of President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to Rhode Island last month to tour storm-damaged areas. "I'm glad HUD has approved the first stage of Rhode Island's disaster recovery plan, which will allow the state to access disaster funding for badly needed repairs.”
Rhode Island’s CDBG-Disaster Recovery plan called on local governments and non-profit organizations, to submit proposals detailing recovery projects that will serve low- to moderate-income persons in Washington and Newport Counties (the most impacted and distressed counties as a result of Hurricane Sandy). The Rhode Island Department of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) reviewed the proposals and divided them into two groups: Tier 1, and Tier 2.
Based on the Tier 1 projects, OHCD is allocating $625,612 (19% of the total allocation) to various activities, with a heavy focus on public facilities and infrastructure. Tier 2 proposals will be approved at a later date.
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 Rhode Island) and New York City. Rhode Island submitted its first required action plan describing how the funds will be used and HUD conducted an expedited review to enable the State to access these funds as quickly as possible.
Rhode Island’s initial approach will focus principally on meeting the immediate recovery needs for housing and damaged infrastructure by Hurricane Sandy. These activities include $104,000 to support a variety of housing programs; and $460,000 for infrastructure and public facilities programs. Read Rhode Island’s disaster recovery plan.
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.
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