From the Star Ledger:
Marking six months since Hurricane Sandy’s landfall on the Jersey Shore, officials announced today that the federal government has signed off on more than $1.8 billion in aid to help residents recover from the Oct. 29 storm.
New Jersey can now start doling out this first round of the state’s portion of the $60 billion emergency relief package that Congress approved in January to help businesses, homeowners and renters. Gov. Chris Christie and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the approval of the state’s plan for distributing the funds at a joint press conference in Highlands.
“This is phase one of our disaster recovery plan,” Christie said in the dining area of a crowded Bahrs Landing restaurant. “We’re not here to take a victory lap because we know that we haven’t achieved victory yet — anywhere near it.”
A large slice of the nearly $1.83 billion in funding will be directed toward homeowners, with $600 million allocated for residents to rebuild and elevate storm-damaged dwellings. Homeowners will be eligible for up to $150,000 through that program.
Donovan said “for a family that’s sleeping on a couch at a relative’s place for the last six months” today’s announcement means that even though flood insurance or the Federal Emergency Management Agency may not have helped them return home “that they have hope of getting back in their home very soon. It means their child will no longer have to commute an hour to get to school everyday.”
The Community Development Block Grants are expected to help more than 20,000 homeowners and more than 5,000 renters, as well as some 10,000 businesses, according to the state.