1. Federal Sandy Recovery Funding Statistics
The following is a summary of federal assistance for survivors of Superstorm Sandy distributed within New Jersey. These figures to not include any funding available through non-federal agencies, private charities, or other organizations active in the recovery process. Figures were obtained online at http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/07/15/new-jersey-recovery-superstorm-sandy-numbers
· According to tracking statistics made available through FEMA (released by the agency July 15, 2013) total federal assistance made available to survivors of Sandy currently stands at $5.3 billion. The bulk of Sandy recovery funding made available to individual property owners and residents has taken the form of National Flood Insurance Program payments totaling $3.5 billion. (Sean Conner, NJ RE was quoted in Daily Journal as stating the Cumberland County residents have received $3 million of that).
· FEMA has also approved grants for individuals and households totaling in excess of 403.3 million. $351 million has gone towards housing assistance and 56.6 million has gone for ‘other needs’ as listed on www.FEMA.gov. The remaining 4.2 million of the initially quoted figure was not included in Monday’s release.
· To date approximately $804.7 million has been leant by the Small Business Association to individuals and homeowners in the form of low interest loans.
· FEMA has also made available $673 million in public assistance grants for state agencies, local communities and certain non-profit organizations that serve the public.
1. Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery Action Plan.
The following is a summative explanation of the CDBG-DR Action Plan, including information about the amount of funding available, restrictions for allocating that funding, and currently operating grant programs and funding sources.
· Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR). The state has announced an Action Plan to guide the implementation of this program which has been allocated $1,829,520,000 by HUD as part of the state’s initial $5.4 billion allocation. The entire Action Plan is available online at http://www.nj.gov/dca/announcements/pdf/CDBG-DisasterRecoveryActionPlan.pdf.
CDBG-DR funds must be used to address “unmet needs” which are defined in the Action Plan’s executive summary as “financial needs not satisfied by other public or private funding sources like FEMA Individual Assistance funds, Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans or private insurance.”
These funds are also to focus predominantly on the state’s most impacted counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union counties) and the state’s low and moderate-income populations. CDBG-DR funds provided through the act are also subject to “guidance” by HUD. As an example, it is mandated that each grantee (NJ/program) must expend 80% of the total funding received though the CDBG-DR program within the nine most impacted counties.
Currently, the state is no longer accepting applications for the two programs that operate under the auspices of the CDBG-DR Action Plan. These programs are the Homeowner Resettlement Grant and the Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREM). Details about each of these funding sources are included in section 3. Information about the programs and how to sign up are available at www.renewjerseystronger.org.
The initial application period for these two programs ended June 30, and the deadline for the second wave of applicants was August 1. To date applications from Cumberland County residents have not been considered for these programs, though they are encouraged to apply.
A second version of the Action Plan is under development, and a second round of funding to the Community Development Block Grant Program in the amount of $1.4 billion is being provided to the State of New Jersey for Sandy recovery assistance. According to Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable the bulk of this funding will go towards infrastructure needs in affected communities throughout the state. Of the portion that will go towards individual homeowners and renters, the majority will be put into existing programs such as the RREM fund and awarded to persons currently on the waiting lists for those programs. Commissioner Constable also indicated that this second wave of relief funds will not be available to residents of the state outside of the “nine most impacted counties”.
A public review period of the new Action Plan will be conducted once the draft plan is finalized, likely in the early weeks of 2014, and will remain open for public comment for thirty days. Once the public comment period is over, the plan will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where it will be considered for a period of 60 days, and either sent back for revision or accepted.
The Cumberland County Long Term Recovery Group has advocated since the inception of these CDBG-DR programs for the inclusion of all New Jersey residents, regardless of their county of residence. The Cumberland LTRG also strongly urges everyone to provide input into the plan during the public comment period.
Once the public comment period has been opened, a link to the new Action Plan will be posted on CumberlandLTRG.org along with instructions for providing comment to the state.
Below, please see a list of Sandy recovery assistance programs past and present administered by the state, and in many cases funded through the CDBG-DR program. While many of these programs are closed to new applicants, they do provide some indication of how future relief funds may be administered.
The following is a list and summative explanation of past, current, and soon-to-begin assistance programs and funding sources available to Sandy survivors. This list is not complete, and may not reflect funding opportunities available solely to governmental bodies or agencies. Any additions, addendums, corrections or omissions to this list should be noted and brought to the attention of the Long Term Recovery Group.
- · Resettlement Grant www.renewjerseystronger.org – $180 million in federal funds has been allocated to support the Homeowner Resettlement Program, which is designed to encourage survivors to remain within the nine most impacted counties (see section 2, CDBG-DR program details). These funds may be used for any non-construction purpose that will assist homeowners in remaining in, or returning to, homes damaged or lost because of Sandy. The amount awarded through this grant program is $10,000 per accepted applicant. This program is closed to new applicants.
- · RREM Grant www.renewjerseystronger.org – $600 Million in federal funds has been allocated to assist Sandy impacted homeowners in rebuilding or repairing their Sandy impacted homes. The RREM program is designed to help “fill the gap” between the cost of repairs and other funding homeowners have received for that purpose through sources such as FEMA, SBA, insurance, and non-profits. The RREM program provides accepted applicants with us to $150,000. Those applicants approved for funding will be guided in the process by an RREM Program Manager contracted by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). An additional $180 million in funds have been moved from undersubscribed programs into the RREM program, and will be used to fund awards to residents currently on the “wait list” for RREM funding.
- · Rebuild by Design Program – Rebuild by Design is a multi-regional design competition to promote resilience in areas affected by Sandy. The goal of the program is stated as a way to, “promote innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region, and to implement selected proposals with both public and private funding dedicated to this effort.” The program will use funds set aside from the CDBG to incentivize development of selected design proposals. Applicants must focus on one of four identified areas detailed in the design brief located here: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=REBUILDBYDESIGNBrief.pdf
- · Stronger NJ Business Grant – Consists of $260 million in grant funding administered by the NJEDA. Priority for this funding will be given to the nine most impacted counties. Qualified businesses must have a gross annual operating revenue of at least $25,000 and less than $5 million. Qualified businesses must also have applied for a Small Business Association loan and been denied. This grant program is not yet open for application, though it is anticipated that it will be in the near future.
- · Landlord Incentive Program www.njdcasage.state.nj.us – This program exists to assist with rental housing needs caused or exacerbated by Sandy. The Landlord Incentive Program has a stated fund of $40 million to “provide a rental property owner roughly the difference between 30 percent of the tenant’s monthly income and federal fair market rents each month and ensure that participating landlords receive a stable monetary incentive over the two year period of this program,” according to information released June 21st by the governor’s office. This program is still open, and is acdepting applications from all 21 NJ counties.
- · NJ Relief Fund Rolling Grant Program www.SandyNJReliefFund.org – A rolling grant funding program specifically for non-profit enterprises that is no longer accepting applications. An anticipated $5 million will be distributed through this program; the minimum grant is $10,000. Applicants must be registered 501c(3) organizations or tax-exempt non-profit organizations.
- · HMGP (Hazard Mitigation Grant Program) www.renewjerseystronger.org – A $100 million dollar program to assist homeowners in elevating homes. Restricted to the “nine most impacted counties” the program provides owners of single-family homes – occupied by said owner at the time of Sandy – up to $30,000 for elevation purposes; funds provided by FEMA according to official announcement. There is no income requirement. Homes targeted for buyouts are not eligible. Open for application 7/22-9/15. FEMA registration not required. Applications considered according to “risk group” categories, with most at risk getting most consideration. Program also factors the height structures need to be raised. Within each risk group, applications are further prioritized based on storm damage from Sandy. Anyone who has begun elevating is not eligible according to federal regulations. This program is closed to new applicants.
- · Landlord Rental Repair Program – A $70 million dollar expansion of reNewJerseyStronger program designed to “provide grants to help rental property owners repair, reconstruct or elevate rental units damaged by Superstorm Sandy. The … will provide up to $50,000 per unit to be made available at affordable rental rates. Eligible owners of rental property in the 9 most-impacted counties from Sandy will be prioritized, but the grants will be available for rental properties damaged by the storm in all 21 counties. It is anticipated the program will benefit approximately 1,500 rental units.” Restricted to properties with 25 units or more damaged by Sandy. Priority given to smaller properties (7 or fewer) and for mold remediation cases. *DESPITE the statement above, the announcement for the program specifically says units in all 21 counties are eligible.
- · New CDBG $75 million grant through NJ EDA – development and public improvement projects, community development www.njeda.com/ncr 1-855-726-3929. Grant funds go to municipalities rather than individuals for community projects.
- · The Christie Administration recently announced a $57 million housing and rental assistance program entitled the “Working Families Living Expenses Voucher Program.” This program is open to residents of all 21 NJ counties, and is designed to “provide housing stability for families… impacted by Superstorm Sandy and ensure that affected households have items essential for health and safety when they return to their homes.” The program will provide housing relief for working families that are “financially strained” as a result of costs associated with Sandy recovery. Funds can be used to maintain temporary housing, maintain a primary residence for the family to return to when repairs are completed, and “stabilize finances” of those who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of Sandy. The funds come through a federal allocation to the Social Services Block Grant program made available to the state Department of Human Services, and will be distributed by the county Boards of Social Services in the form of direct payments to billing agencies or vouchers to selected vendors.
The above-listed grant and funding programs are past, currently active or soon-to-be active sources of funding for various individuals and organizations. This is a preliminary list, and may not include some grant and funding sources or opportunities currently available to NJ residents or governments and governmental agencies. The list also does not include any non-monetary relief or recovery initiatives. This summary will be kept and expanded as more programs are rolled out and more information about Sandy recovery becomes available. If you notice any omissions, needed corrections, or clarifications please contact Phillip Tomlinson at the Cumberland County Long-Term Recovery Group, 856-785-2060 ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.