WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Wednesday that Rhode Island is slated to receive $3.24 million in disaster relief funding to rebuild following the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in the fall.
The Ocean State is one of 13 states that were affected by the storm and is one of the first five to receive an allocation from the $16 million in Community Development Block Grants included in the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 signed into law by President Barack Obama on Jan. 29.
“I appreciate [HUD Sec. Shaun] Donovan and the Obama Administration moving quickly to get these flexible recovery funds to Rhode Island so we can help homeowners, small businesses and communities that were hit hardest by the storm,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed in prepared remarks.
Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee added that “while Rhode Island fared well in the storm compared to some of our fellow Northeastern states, these funds will greatly assist Rhode Island residents’ unmet needs to repair their homes and businesses.”
The funding gives states the option to direct the money to the greatest housing, infrastructure or economic revitalization needs and to cover costs not covered by insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration or other sources. HUD said that it expects this first round of help to be used mostly on housing and small business needs.
A release from Reed’s office, citing FEMA statistics, said that Rhode Islanders had filed more than 1,000 claims for damage caused by Sandy and that the agency had paid out $12.9 million so far, adding that it shows that approximately 40 percent of all flood claims in the Ocean State had been paid. It has extended the deadline for Rhode Islanders to register for assistance to Feb. 13.
The state also already has received $3 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation for road repairs and $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide temporary employment for cleanup projects.
The next step in the process for the state and any cities is to file plans with the federal government for what they intend to do with the funds.