As the first anniversary of super storm Sandy’s run through Connecticut arrives Tuesday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that Connecticut is eligible for $65 million more in block grants to help recovery from the devastating storm.
If HUD approves Connecticut’s plans for the money, the new allocation would raise the amount the state receives in HUD Community Development block grants to $136.8 million.
Gov. Dannel Malloy praised the new allocation of HUD funds.
“This additional $65 million will provide a tremendous boost to the efforts currently underway to help residents and communities that are still feeling the effects from this historic storm,” Malloy said in a statement.
Connecticut is getting only a tiny fraction of what New York and New Jersey will receive in HUD block grants, which can be used for housing, transportation and economic redevelopment. The damage two states had in the storm far exceeded Connecticut’s.
On Monday HUD announced $1.3 billion in a new grant for New York City, which if approved will raise the city’s total allocation of community block grants to $3.1 billion. New York state’s new allocation was $2 billion, for a total of $3.8 billion and New Jersey’s was $1.5 billion for a total of $3.3 billion.
Although all members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation welcomed the money, some said they will seek more.
“Money is still needed to repair and rebuild homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure projects,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District. “There is a lot of work to do and resources required to do it. I will continue to fight to ensure that Connecticut gets the federal support we need.”
About $16 billion in Community Development Block Grants for disaster victims was included in a $60 billion Sandy relief bill approved by Congress in January.
Connecticut used its first allocation of HUD grant money for a new program to give Sandy-hit homeowners grants to help them fill the gap between the cost the damage to their homes and what they have received in payments from insurers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Homeowners in Fairfield, New London, New Haven, and Middlesex counties are eligible for the new grant program, run by Connecticut’s Department of Housing.
Malloy said the Department of Housing will develop an action plan to disburse the latest money offered by HUD.
Meanwhile, Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington-based anti-spending group, released a report Monday showing that most agencies, including HUD, have been excruciatingly slow in allocating the $60 billion they received from the Sandy bill. They estimate only 24 percent of money meant to help Sandy-hit states has been allocated.
“Part of the problem is agencies need to giddy up,” the report said. “Local and state governments have followed the rules and met the needs of rebuilding infrastructure or otherwise deploying resources. Now the federal government needs to hold up their end of the bargain and give the cash to those who followed the rules.”