February 6, 2013First Round of Community Development Block Grants Will Fund Eight New City Initiatives to Rebuild Homes and Businesses and Strengthen Infrastructure
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that New York City plans to spend its initial allocation of $1.77 billion in Community Development Block Grants to address the most urgent housing, business and infrastructure needs in the neighborhoods hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy through eight new programs. The new programs fall into three categories of immediate need: housing recovery, business recovery and infrastructure resiliency. The housing recovery initiatives include rehabilitation grants for single-family homes, rehabilitation grants for multi-family homes and grants for resiliency efforts in public housing. The business recovery initiatives are grants for resiliency measures, expanded loans and grants for businesses, and a competition for innovations in resiliency technologies. The infrastructure resiliency initiatives are a competition for game-changing initiatives in neighborhoods and a competition for utilities to make resiliency investments. The Mayor made the announcement at City Hall where he was joined by Deputy Mayor for Operations Caswell F. Holloway, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, Director of Housing Recovery Operations Brad Gair and Seth Pinsky, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of Mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding & Resiliency.
“These funds will help New Yorkers who were the hardest hit by Sandy get back on their feet and help communities build back stronger and smarter,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This allocation is evidence of the great cooperation we’ve had in responding to and recovering from Sandy from every branch and arm of the Federal government.
The City’s eight new programs fall into three categories:
Housing Recovery – $720 Million
Business Recovery – $185 Million
Infrastructure Resiliency – $140 Million
“Since Sandy struck, we have done a lot to help those who were hardest hit get critical services and return to their homes. But the hardest work remains ahead of us,” Deputy Mayor Holloway said. “With this federal assistance, we will restore neighborhoods, re-open businesses, and better protect our coast and coastal communities from the dangers of climate change.”
“In the months since Sandy hit, Mayor Bloomberg has worked tirelessly to use every available resource to help residents and businesses recover as quickly as possible – via the Housing Recovery Office, Rapid Repairs, and our emergency loan and grant program that has made nearly $10 million available to businesses to reopen and recover,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “With this initial allocation of federal funding, we will further accelerate the work of recovery and begin to make critical investments in resiliency to protect against future storms. We appreciate the leadership and partnership of HUD and Secretary Donovan and look forward to continuing to work closely with him and his team.”
“With this first $5.4 billion allocation, the work it took to pass the Sandy aid bill is starting to pay off,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer. “We know there is desperate need and anxious waiting in the places hit by the storm, and we will be making sure that this money gets to homeowners, small business and communities as quickly as possible.”
“This assistance builds on the City’s earlier business recovery programs, providing a critical boost to impacted companies as they recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “Thanks to Secretary Donovan and our partners in the federal government, we will now have even more resources to help those in the hardest-hit areas get back on their feet, and to help those in vulnerable areas citywide to repair and strengthen our buildings and infrastructure. Working together, we are ensuring that New York City and its economy will emerge from this challenge stronger for the future.”
“These federal funds give us the flexibility to solve many of the housing problems created by Sandy with a mix of innovative programs that will help residents in a direct and meaningful way, while also helping them protect their homes against a future storm,” said Brad Gair, Director of the Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery.
“Focusing on repairing while simultaneously enhancing the long-term resiliency of the multi-family housing stock in the areas hardest hit by Sandy is of the highest priority,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua. “This Block Grant funding will accelerate our efforts and play a critical role in providing owners with the financial resources they need to put their buildings back into good repair, and institute measures to ensure the mitigation of future storm damage. I thank the Mayor for his leadership and HUD for its partnership in helping to keep our city’s housing stock livable and sustainable.”
“Through the City’s Emergency Loan Fund and matching grant we have helped hundreds of small businesses impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but there is still much more to do,” said Rob Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “This funding will provide a big boost for the City’s small businesses and commercial corridors still working to recover from Sandy.”
“NYCHA will use these funds to install back-up generators and other critical equipment above flood levels in over 100 of our buildings in low-lying areas, focusing on buildings with high concentrations of seniors and vulnerable residents,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “These upgrades will ensure that essential services such as elevators and emergency lighting are maintained during and after a storm.”
Marc LaVorgna/Julie Wood