The Block Island Times

R.I. to receive $16 million more in Sandy recovery aid

A total of $61.4 million in Sandy recovery efforts
Nov 01, 2013

WASHINGTON — A year after Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on many Rhode Island businesses and homes, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and U.S. Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline have announced that an additional $16 million in federal funding is on its way to help pay rebuilding costs and better protect communities from future storms. This latest round of federal support comes in the form of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which may be used to make infrastructure upgrades; repair homes, businesses, and public facilities; and ensure communities are better prepared for and can respond to future natural disasters.

To date, Rhode Island has received approximately $61.4 million from federal disaster relief programs to help Rhode Island recover from Sandy.

“This federal funding will provide the state with critical resources to help families, businesses, and communities that were hit hardest by the storm. It also offers communities the opportunity to take steps to better protect themselves from future storms and encourage sustainable economic growth,” said Reed. “Increasing the resiliency of our infrastructure and coastline and accounting for future risks is a smart investment that can save taxpayers in the long run and help build a stronger Rhode Island.”

“One year ago, Hurricane Sandy pummeled the coast of Rhode Island, wreaking havoc on our coasts and causing millions of dollars in damage,” said Whitehouse, who brought President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force to Rhode Island this July to assess the storm’s damage to coastal communities. “I’m proud to announce this $16 million grant, which will help Rhode Island communities recover from the devastating effects of the storm.”

“It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged our coastline and damaged homes and businesses across Rhode Island. We are still recovering from the impacts of the storm, and these funds will go a long way in helping communities to rebuild and get stronger,” said Langevin. “This $16 million in CDBG funding is a smart investment in disaster planning that will help our state mitigate future storm damage, saving money, infrastructure and potentially lives, in years to come.”

In July, the Congressional delegation brought federal officials from the Hurricane Sandy Task Force to Rhode Island for a firsthand look at coastal communities that suffered extensive damage during Sandy. Shortly thereafter, the state’s action plan for spending its initial allocation of $3.2 million in CDBG-DR funds for Sandy recovery was approved by HUD.

Rhode Island has now received over $19.24 million in CDBG-DR funds for Sandy assistance.

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 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 insurance, FEMA, SBA, or other sources. Vacation homes are not eligible for CDBG-DR funds.

When Superstorm Sandy hit Rhode Island on Oct. 29, 2012, it caused widespread devastation and affected approximately 300,000 Rhode Island residents, or 28 percent of the state’s population. Mandatory local evacuations were ordered in eight communities. Approximately 122,000 homes and businesses lost electricity as a result of the storm, and an estimated 40,000 remained without power for two or more days. The highest concentration of storm damage was located in Rhode Island’s southern coastal communities. The majority of the damages in these areas occurred from storm surge and high winds.

The Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD), within the State’s Division of Planning, is responsible for administering the CDBG-DR program.

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