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New York and New Jersey Release Plans for Billions in Recovery Aid

By Cooper Martin, Director, Resilient Communities

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey released Action Plans detailing how they intend to spend the $1.7 billion each state received in Community Development grant funding following Hurricane Sandy.

For architects whose firms were damaged by the storm, both states have announced plans to provide grants to small businesses.

In New Jersey, $500 million will be administered by the Economic Development Authority. Of that, $300 million will fund grants of up to $50,000 for small businesses to engage in activities including rehabilitation, new construction, and mitigation. No interest loans are also available in amounts from $100,000 to $5 million to repair damage or expand business in storm-impacted areas.

New York announced similar programs for $415 million that is dedicated to “Bringing Back Business.” Small business grants up to $50,000 can be used to repair damages or provide working capital necessary to sustain a business and very low interest loans are available in larger amounts.

Of course, the disaster recovery funds will also be used to finance a significant amount of design and construction. Both governors have made very ambitious commitments to rebuild more resilient and sustainable cities along the coast.

Gov. Christie’s plan devotes over $100 million to the provision of zero and low interest loans to developers for the restoration and construction of multi-family housing. Furthermore, a $75 million Neighborhood and Community Revitalization Program will fund long-term economic development. Activities include property acquisition, demolition, site preparation, and infrastructure work related to public facilities, façade or code-related improvements, and overall “Greening of Communities.”

In New York, many of the construction activities will be planned by a new Community Reconstruction Zone (CRZ) Program and financed by a new state infrastructure bank. The CRZ program will provide communities with an initial allocation of $25 million in grants to finance risk assessments, public workshops, and other long-term recovery planning efforts. The infrastructure bank will coordinate major infrastructure development and investment throughout the state. It will receive an initial capitalization of $20 million, which the state expects to grow to $200 million through the subsequent federal disaster allocations.

Both action plans are open for public comment and must be approved by HUD to take effect.

Read the New York Action Plan

Read the New Jersey Action Plan

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