This morning Mayor Bloomberg revealed how $1.77 billion in federal grants will be spent on Hurricane Sandy recovery—$720 million will be allocated towards housing recovery, $185 to assist and spur local businesses, and $140 million will go towards improving infrastructure. “Focusing on repairing while simultaneously enhancing the long-term resiliency of the multi-family housing stock in the areas hardest hit by Sandy is of the highest priority,” Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Matthew Wambua said in a statement.
Up to 9,300 single-family homes and 12,970 multi-family homes will receive $350 and $250 million respectively to "restore their homes, implement resiliency measures and remediate mold." NYCHA, which was roundly criticized for its slow response to restore power to frigid, dark housing units will receive $120 million "to address initial resilience measures for public housing developments, such as permanent emergency generators at key buildings to provide backup power to critical building systems."
NYCHA's chairman John Rhea provides additional detail in the release:
“NYCHA will use these funds to install back-up generators and other critical equipment above flood levels in over 100 of our buildings in low-lying areas, focusing on buildings with high concentrations of seniors and vulnerable residents.These upgrades will ensure that essential services such as elevators and emergency lighting are maintained during and after a storm.”
The city will divert $100 million in $100K "resiliency" grants to small and mid-sized companies (larger companies will get $1 million), and $80 million for other low-interest emergency loans and grants. Another $100 million will be put towards grants for competitions for "innovative and effective investment ideas for spurring long-term economic growth." The release provides (vague) ideas for doing so:
Possible ideas could include attraction of growing companies and/or companies of significant size, attraction of companies that serve the needs of underserved populations, or other transformative investments in key corridors.
$40 million will go towards grants for competitions to help utilities (see: LIPA) to strengthen their infrastructures.
According to Crain's, Bloomberg said the funds would start being paid out in late April or May. "The government doesn't just back up a truck and dump bills on the ground," the mayor said. "You have to justify it, you have to get approvals, you have to comply with the law."
The money represents a chunk of the $50 billion bill passed by Congress to assist victims of the hurricane. Nothing in the release mentions the still-evolving buyout plan for residents whose homes were in the storm's path of destruction.
This afternoon Mayor Bloomberg dined with Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan at Goodfella's Pizzeria on Hylan Boulevard in Staten Island, to talk about Sandy recovery measures. Donovan, a former member of Bloomberg's administration, was appointed by the president to lead the federal government's recovery efforts.