NEW YORK—New Yorkers whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy have been waiting for federal aid since the end of October—and they will continue to wait through the spring.
Exactly 100 days since Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, and 9 days since the Hurricane Sandy relief bill passed through the United States Senate, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city’s first plan for allocating a portion of the $16 billion in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
-Housing Recovery -- $720 Million
Single Family: $350 million, for up to 9300 units
Multifamily: $250 million, for up to 12,790 units
Public housing: $120 million to add resilience measures
-Business Recovery- $185 Million
Small/medium business: up to $100,000
Large business: up to $1 million
$80 million in expanded loans: up to $150,000
$5 million in race-to-the-top-style competitions for ideas featuring products and technologies that can be replicated citywide.
-Infrastructure Recovery- $140 million
$100 million in race-to-the-top-style competition for ideas for spurring long-term growth
$40 million race-to-the-top-style competition for innovative ideas related to making utilities more resilient.
The plan is only a proposal, however, and will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for approval. Approval is not expected until April. Once approved, homeowners can begin to apply for aid.
Mayor Bloomberg described the waiting period as “instantaneous in government-speak.”
“The Government doesn’t back up a truck and dump bills on the ground,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “We are not just going to send out checks.”
Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway told reporters they will try to prequalify as many people as possible to limit excess waiting once the proposal is approved.
HUD allocated $1.77 billion, the city’s plan calls for using just over $1 billion, how the other three-quarters of a billion dollars will be used is yet to be decided.
Under the proposal, housing, businesses, and infrastructure are eligible for grants, some of which will be race-to-the-top-style competitions, where the winners are awarded based on a performance.
The mayor said that homes that are to be rebuilt, which are all likely included in the newly released flood plain maps, will have to abide by new building codes. The mayor issued an executive order in conjunction with the new flood elevation standards, which will prevent elevated homes from breaking the height code requirement.
When asked if homes would have to be elevated to get the federal aid the mayor replied, “Yes. You have to comply with the rules and those are the new rules.”
In the first round of funding the CDBG has allocates $350 million for rebuilding up to 9,300 single-family homes and $250 million for multifamily units.
For homeowners who do not wish to rebuild or rehabilitate their homes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a buyback program. If approved, the state will buy the waterfront property from the homeowner and demolish the home.
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