NYC Recovery - Community Development Block Grant
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Press Release

April 23, 2013


Inclusion of Reimbursement for Out-of-Pocket Repair Expenses Incurred by Homeowners Among Changes Included in Submission Based on Feedback Received During the Public Comment Period

Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations Brad Gair and Director of the Mayor’s Special Initiative on Rebuilding and Resiliency Seth W. Pinsky today announced the City has formally submitted its Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, following the completion of a 14-day public comment period. Pursuant to Federal guidelines, the City last month released its Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan A for public review and comment. The Action Plan details how the City intends to spend the initial $1.77 billion allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for Hurricane Sandy relief, including new programs for housing recovery, business recovery and infrastructure resiliency. During the two-week comment period, the City received nearly 400 comments and suggestions on the plan from the public, stakeholder groups and elected officials. The City made revisions to the Action Plan based on these comments, including the addition of a program that will reimburse qualifying homeowners who incurred out-of-pocket expenses to repair their homes, to the extent that these costs are not already covered by insurance, FEMA funds or other sources. The submission of the Action Plan to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for approval represents the next step towards receiving the initial allocation of Federal disaster aid under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act.

“Public participation is crucial to a full and meaningful recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy,” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “The comments we received from the public, elected officials and other community stakeholders on our Action Plan were thoughtful and helpful, and our plan is better thanks to this input.”

“The Bloomberg Administration is committed to helping homeowners and businesses rebuild as quickly as possible, and with the submission of this Action Plan we are one step closer to getting funding to where it's needed most,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “We look forward to continuing our close partnership with the federal task force and Secretary Donovan and are thankful for the continuous support the City has received from our federal delegation, led by Senator Schumer.”

“We are excited to submit this Action Plan for HUD’s approval, and look forward to using these generous federal disaster funds to help families who have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy complete their recovery,” said Brad Gair, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.

“Thanks to significant public input, the revised action plan will ensure that the City continues to provide critical assistance to the New York City businesses, households and communities that were hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy,” said Seth Pinsky, Director of the Mayor’s Special Initiative on Rebuilding and Resiliency. “By working together, we can achieve our goal of not only rebuilding the neighborhoods most impacted by the storm, but also turning New York into a global model of resiliency.”

Updates to the City’s Community Development Block Grant Action Plan

Reimbursements: The City amended its programs to include reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses for qualifying owners of one- to four family homes, as permitted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The City will only reimburse qualifying owners for repairs that are in compliance with the New York City Building Code and satisfy all Department of Housing and Urban Development and other requirements. Additional details for these programs, including qualifications, will be announced following approval from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Prioritization: In order to address the highest need families first, the City will prioritize the limited initial funding based on the level of damage and financial need, using national objectives set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Based on comments received, the City has streamlined the program priorities for this round of funding to include low-income families with any level of damage among the first priority.

Contractor Selection for Home Repair: The City will give homeowners more flexibility to select a contractor for reconstruction and rehabilitation. The same program requirements and parameters for grant assistance will apply for owners who select this option.

Elevation Standards: The City’s intention is to use FEMA’s Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New York City when they are issued, rather than the current Advisory Base Flood Elevation Maps. The City will require that projects funded with Community Development Block Grant meet elevations from the Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps, plus additional freeboard. Freeboard is one or two feet, depending on building occupancy and flood zone.

Rental Subsidy Program: The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently approved a waiver that will allow the City to create a rental subsidy program to serve families displaced by Hurricane Sandy. This program will be used to assist those who do not qualify for programs currently in place to help displaced residents – such as the additional Section 8 vouchers being provided by Housing Preservation and Development; apartments made available by the New York City Housing Authority; FEMA Rental Assistance; and the FEMA Disaster Housing Assistance Program.

Summary of Public Comments

During the two-week public comment period from March 22nd to April 4th, the City received 377 unique comments.

Total Unique Comments, by Category*

  • Housing: 265
  • Business: 27
  • Infrastructure, Administration, Other: 90+
  • Other comments: 20+
    (*Many comments spanned multiple categories.)

Top Comments Subjects

  • Mandatory Elevation: 60+ comments
  • Infrastructure Resiliency: 50+ comments
  • Reimbursements: 40+ comments
  • Buyouts and Acquisitions: 35+ comments    
  • Choosing Contractors: 30+ comments

Eligibility and Requirements for Businesses: 25+ comments.

Kamran Mumtaz
(212) 788-2958

Peter Spencer (Housing Recovery)
(212) 615-8085