This is the first round of federal funding to come to the state and will mostly be through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The total amount of CDBG funds could exceed $6 billion.
According to a February 6, 2013 article in The Record,
“Governor Christie said he wants to use the money to help rebuild primary residences, to get shuttered businesses opened, and for a marketing program that would encourage people to return to the Jersey shore. Federal housing officials would have to approve Christie’s plan, which he said is being finalized late Wednesday. “
And more specifically about rebuilding primary residences,
“Christie said he hopes to start getting money on the ground to people by the end of this month. This particular type of disaster aid, known as Community Development Block Grants, is broadly meant to fill gaps not covered by private insurance or other types of disaster aid.”
The CDBG funding is meant to fill in where other federal funding and insurance have not. And it is clear that the Governor means for New Jersey to funding to go to assisting homeowners.
But where does that leave households that were renting before Sandy? How will they receive the assistance they will need to prevent becoming homeless especially as Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) funding is scheduled to run out?
“Sen. Frank Lautenberg said, in a joint statement issued with Sen. Robert Menendez, that he is ‘confident that the state will put a good plan in place to distribute the grants fairly and we’ll continue working with Secretary Donovan and local governments to ensure this funding helps our state rebuild in the most effective way possible.”
Let us hope that the funding will help all households in the state rebuild.