WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee(both D-Md.) today announced that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will award $8.6 million in federal funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to Maryland communities struggling to recover from Super-Storm Sandy. These funds were included in the Super-Storm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill which passed the Senate last month to help restore infrastructure and housing in communities hit hardest by the storm.
“I recently had the opportunity to see first-hand how devastating Super Storm Sandy was to the businesses and families who live in Somerset County. These federal CDBG funds are critically important because they will help keep Somerset County on the path to recovery and help residents as they rebuild their homes in a way that will mitigate damage in the future,” said Senator Cardin.
“Super-Storm Sandy was one of the most destructive storms to ever hit the United States and had a measurable impact on Marylanders, especially on the residents of Somerset County. We’ve got businesses that need to restart and homes that need to be rebuilt,” Chairwoman Mikulski said. “Those hit hardest by this storm must know they have a federal government on their side. These funds in the federal checkbook will help those still reeling from the devastation of Sandy to recover and rebuild their lives, their livelihoods and their communities.”
Grantees – including states and the City of New York – will be required to develop and submit an action plan to HUD within 90 days to detail where funds will be allocated. These plans must describe the needs, strategies and planned uses of the funds. HUD will review and approve the action plans to ensure that funds will flow to areas of greatest need within the state. CDBG disaster funds are flexible aid for states and localities that can be used to address severely damaged housing, infrastructure, and assist with economic development in areas impacted by Sandy. In addition to Maryland, CDBG disaster funding will go to New Jersey, New York City, New York State, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
Senators Cardin and Mikulski fought to ensure the Super-Storm Sandy Supplemental Appropriations bill included an expansion of the CDBG program as well as provided HUD with greater flexibility in determining what CDBG grants can pay for so families can get the help they need most. In December, the Senators wrote to HUD Secretary Donovan and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate urging their agencies to cut through red tape and calling on HUD to use maximum flexibility in awarding their CDBG assistance. A copy of their letter is available here.
Team Maryland has been vigilant in seeking disaster assistance since Sandy hit the Atlantic coast in October. As Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Mikulski led the Senate’s ultimate passage of the Sandy Supplemental after House Republicans failed to take up similar Senate-passed legislation prior to the adjournment of the 112th Congress.
With the full support and backing of Team Maryland, FEMA reversed its initial denial of Individual Disaster Assistance for Somerset County, approving approved this assistance, which provides critical housing assistance and disaster-related support for families and individuals coping with the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Senators Cardin and Mikulski also led the Maryland delegation in urging President Obama to support a Pre-Disaster Declaration, Disaster Declaration and Individual Assistance for Maryland counties impacted by Super-Storm Sandy.