December 2012 Featured Article
Dealing with The Aftermath of Sandy
To say that Hurricane Sandy will affect the fiscal health of municipalities along the Jersey coastline is an understatement. As most of us already know, FEMA will pick up the tab for 100% of the costs 14 days after the storm because of the Presidential Disaster Declaration, but after the fourteen day time frame only 75% of the costs are covered by FEMA and the remaining 25% are left to the responsibility of the municipality, homeowner or business owners. Local governments only have until November 29, 2012 to apply for FEMA’s public assistance program, which will assist communities with the exorbitant clean-up and recovery costs associated with Hurricane Sandy. FEMA has set up Disaster Recovery Centers throughout the State in the areas most affected to assist homeowners and business owners in the claim and recovery process. Additionally, New Jersey’s informative website www.NJ211.org and 211 phone line are available for all residents to receive answers to questions regarding claims and recovery services.
In addition to the FEMA funds that will help expedite recovery, many federal agencies have stepped in and released additional funds to provide recovery assistance. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation released approximately $10 million in quick-release emergency relief funds to the State of New Jersey to begin repairing infrastructure impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Transportation has expedited the permitting process for carriers moving temporary housing to New Jersey and the rest of the affected area. The Federal Transit Authority has worked with local rail authorities to ensure the quick repair of railroad infrastructure impacted from the storm. The “FTA also worked with FEMA and the General Services Administration to arrange for 350 buses to be used in New Jersey to fill in where the commuter rail service was disrupted” (U.S Secretary of Transporation, 2012).
Immediately after the storm the U.S. Department of Labor committed “approximately $15 million to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development to assist with the restoration of public lands and infrastructure while also providing temporary work to those in need of employment”. “Approximately $5 million will be released immediately and the remaining $10 million will be made available as the state demonstrates a continued need” (US Department of Labor, 2012). These funds come from the National Emergency Grant and are part of the secretary of labors discretionary funds.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is also working throughout the affected area to help families and individuals displaced by the storm to find temporary housing through a website portal. For more information this website may be viewed at http://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm.
The “U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has distributed an initial $5.3 million to 11 states affected by Hurricane Sandy. NRCS provides this funding through its Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program” (FEMA, 2012).
The U.S. Small Business Administration has also located Business Recovery Centers throughout the State to assist business owners through one-on-one counseling and information regarding low interest Disaster Loan Programs. These loans are aimed at helping small businesses affected by the storm to reopen as soon as possible and make necessary repairs.
A telephone hotline for legal issues is also available to residents called the New Jersey Disaster Legal Services. This program is administered through a relationship between FEMA and the American Bar Association. The hotline helps residents with the recreation and filing of legal documents that were lost or destroyed during the storm.
As many New Jerseyans know, the outpouring of support from both the region and our country has been immense. The number of private foundations and non-profit organizations offering grants continues to grow daily. The following list represents only a brief sample of the non-profits and foundations offering grants to assist families and organizations in providing services to those in need in the affected areas: Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The SAG Foundation and the Screen Actors Guild Motion Picture Players Welfare Fund, United Way, Kessler Foundation, ASPCA, North Star Fund, Alferd E. Smith Memorial Foundation, National Association of Realtors and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company Contributions. In addition to the aforementioned grant programs available, there are an innumerable number of companies, organizations and foundations that donated funds to the New Jersey Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief program.
Some other grant and funding opportunities that may assist with the recovery costs are existing programs that have appropriations for disaster or emergent needs; such as the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Changes to ongoing grant programs will be monitored and posted on NJLM’s website going forward in an attempt to assist communities during this difficult time.
NJLM suggests that if you or your friends, neighbors or constituents have problems getting answers to questions or difficulty finding the appropriate agency through which a problem can be resolved, contact NJ 211 or the Hurricane Sandy Information Center located on the State of New Jersey website at www.state.nj.us/nj/home/features/spotlight/hurricane_sandy.shtml.
Triad Associates is currently the League’s Grant Consulting Firm. Their firm, which is known for its expertise in community and economic development, including strategic planning, redevelopment, acquisition, relocation and funding, has brought diverse plans and projects to life by generating more than $580,000,000 for over 120 public, private and nonprofit clients throughout the Northeast region since 1978. Every member of the Triad team is personally committed and dedicated to the success of its clients and the projects that benefit communities.