Amendment 8 Plan Outlines How City Will Use Grant Money for Sandy Recovery

Amendment 8 Plan Outlines How City Will Use Grant Money for Sandy Recovery

Bill Goldstein, Mayor de Blasio's senior advisor for recovery, resiliency, and infrastructure.  Photo Courtesy of HRO

Bill Goldstein, Mayor de Blasio’s senior advisor for recovery, resiliency, and infrastructure. Photo Courtesy of HRO

With the arrival of the third allocation of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funds—a little more than $994 million—the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency last week began to roll out the city’s strategy for how to use the money, and solicit public comment from residents and business owners.

Every time the city receives additional CDBG-DR funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it must update its Action Plan to describe how the funds will be spent.

The second of five public hearings—one in each borough—on Action Plan Amendment 8 was held last Thursday evening at Beach Channel High School in Rockaway Park. The final hearing, at the Educational Alliance Manny Cantor Center in Manhattan, is Thursday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Action Plan “outlines how the city will use its CDBG-DR funds to bolster and expedite the recovery process.” Additionally, Amendment 8 revises key information contained within program descriptions and program start and ends dates to reflect updated information and timelines in all areas; updates need assessments and makes other non-substantial updates in all areas; and identifies planning and administration funding for each program area, including Overall Grant Management.

The proposal is broken down into four areas: housing, business, infrastructure and other city services, and coastal resiliency. Action Plan Amendment 8, de Blasio said, describes $639 million in new housing recovery funds, enabling the city to serve all applicants to Build it Back, regardless of priority levels; reallocates $200 million to Build it Back from other prior allocations; and provides financial assistance to homeowners who must move during Build it Back construction through a new optional Temporary Relocation Program.

The Action Plan also details $42 million in new business programs in Coney Island, Staten Island and the Rockaways that will benefit over 1,200 businesses.

Additionally, Amendment 8 accounts for $355 million in new coastal resiliency funding via the HUD Rebuild by Design program, including $335 million for a flood-protection system of the East Side of Manhattan; and $20 million for Hunts Point to evaluate integrated coastal protection, workforce development, energy, and stormwater resiliency, and an emergency maritime supply chain in support of food supply protection.

As far as infrastructure and other city services, the Action Plan revises existing projects and identifies major infrastructure projects, and further details the city’s response to impacts to public infrastructure.

According to de Blasio, Amendment 8 will expand on last year’s gains of the overhauled Build it Back program. As of Dec. 31, 2014, construction has begun on more than 1,000 homes and $36.5 million in reimbursement checks have been issued. Compare that to Dec. 31, 2013, when constructed had not been initiated on any affected homes, and zero checks had been sent to victims.

“Since Mayor de Blasio overhauled Build it Back, homeowners have seen increased flexibility, improved communication and—most importantly—real results,” said Amy Peterson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations. “The progress over the last year has been dramatic, with offers being made to the vast majority of homeowners and thousands now in construction or receiving reimbursement. In 2015, we’re going to build on that progress by dramatically expanding design and construction capacity to ensure that every homeowner gets the relief they need.”

Visit for full Amendment 8 details and to comment on the plan.



By Michael V. Cusenza


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