2013-03-22 / Top Stories

Cuomo Plans for Housing and Business Storm Recovery Programs

Governor Andrew Cuomo submitted New York State's proposal for housing and business recovery programs to help New Yorkers devastated by Superstorm Sandy, as well as Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. These programs will provide billions of dollars in direct aid to individuals, homeowners, and small businesses using funding from the $60 billion Sandy Aid approved by Congress and signed in to law by President Obama in January.

The State plan is not for the City. The City will administer similar programs because it was allotted its own $1.7 billion. The Wave is highlighting some of Cuomo’s proposals for informational and comparison purposes.

“This plan was put together with the input of homeowners and small businesses in affected communities, and it will serve as a blueprint to guide our housing and private sector recovery," Cuomo said. (The full plan is available for viewing at The State's Action Plan is available for public review at http://www.nyshcr.org/Publications/)

Last week, HUD issued rules and regulations governing the use of the first $1.7 billion allocated to New York, and formally invited New York to apply for funds to assist homeowners, small businesses, and communities impacted by Sandy, Irene and Lee with their ongoing recovery efforts.

HUD is required to formally approve the State's proposed programs under the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program before they can release any of these funds to the State.

According to Cuomo, as many as 300,000 homes across the state were damaged in some way by Superstorm Sandy alone, and approximately twothirds of all properties flooded by Sandy were not covered by flood insurance. Even where property owners have insurance, in many instances it has not reimbursed the full amount needed to repair damage, leaving families with a substantial repair and recovery burden. Furthermore, many families cannot afford to invest in disaster mitigation measures to reduce the risk of future damage, even though these investments are cost effective and save lives in the long term. To help homeowners impacted by these three storms recover, New York State is asking HUD to approve a series of housing programs to help families rebuild their homes better and smarter. Single Family Housing: $663 Million: Homeowners located in the counties affected by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, whose cost to repair or replace their home exceeds the funding they received from other sources may be eligible for Recreate NY Smart Home Repair and Reconstruction Grants. These Grants would cover the difference between reimbursements received and the amount of loss suffered by the homeowner. For example, if a homeowner that suffered $110,000 of damage has already received $50,000 from FEMA and her insurance company, she may be eligible for an additional $60,000 grant for qualified repairs under this program. Repair and rehabilitation may be required to meet green building standards and to improve energy efficiency, where applicable. Recreate NY Smart Home Resilience Grants - $259 million: A homeowner whose partially damaged property is located in the 100-year flood plain or whose property located outside of the floodplain was substantially damaged may be eligible for funding to support mitigation projects that reduce the risk of future damage to their homes. Projects supported by the grants will make these homes significantly less vulnerable to future storm damage, and will save owners substantially through lower flood insurance premiums. In most cases, the grants will cover the full cost of such mitigation that has not been covered by other assistance. Building mitigation may be required to meet green building standards and to improve energy efficiency, where applicable. Recreate NY Smart Home Buyout Program - $171 million: Certain areas are at high risk for repeated flooding, causing damage to homes and risking the lives of residents and emergency responders. To reduce those risks and provide residents with an opportunity to leave their properties, New York State will offer voluntary Buyouts for homes that were: substantially damaged inside the 500-year flood plain, or located within designated buyout areas where damage occurred and where property may be susceptible to future damage due to sea level rise and other factors. These enhanced buyout areas will be selected in consultation with county and local government officials. In very high risk areas, there will be a prohibition on rebuilding and these areas will be used as buffer zones. Under the States proposal, and subject to approval by HUD, redevelopment of property outside of the100-year floodplain that is acquired through a buyout would be permitted, so long as the new structure is built to mitigate future flood impact. Homeowners will be notified if they are eligible for a buyout after HUD has many as 300,000 homes across the state were damaged in some way by Superstorm Sandy alone, and approximately two-thirds of all properties flooded by Sandy were not covered by flood insurance. Even where property owners have insurance, in many instances it has not reimbursed the full amount needed to repair damage, leaving families with a substantial repair and recovery burden. Furthermore, many families cannot afford to invest in disaster mitigation measures to reduce the risk of future damage, even though these investments are cost effective and save lives in the long term. To help homeowners impacted by these three storms recover, New York State is asking HUD to approve a series of housing programs to help families rebuild their homes better and smarter. Single Family Housing: $663 Million: Recreate NY Smart Home Repair and Reconstruction Grants - $233 million: Homeowners located in the counties affected by Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, whose cost to repair or replace their home exceeds the funding they received from other sources may be eligible for Recreate NY Smart Home Repair and Reconstruction Grants. These Grants would cover the difference between reimbursements received and the amount of loss suffered by the homeowner. For example, if a homeowner that suffered $110,000 of damage has already received $50,000 from FEMA and her insurance company, she may be eligible for an additional $60,000 grant for qualified repairs under this program. Repair and rehabilitation may be required to meet green building standards and to improve energy efficiency, where applicable. Recreate NY Smart Home Resilience Grants - $259 million: A homeowner whose partially damaged property is located in the 100-year flood plain or whose property located outside of the floodplain was substantially damaged may be eligible for funding to support mitigation projects that reduce the risk of future damage to their homes. Projects supported by the grants will make these homes significantly less vulnerable to future storm damage, and will save owners substantially through lower floodinsurance premiums. In most cases, the grants will cover the full cost of such mitigation that has not been covered by other assistance. Building mitigation may be required to meet green building standards and to improve energy efficiency, where applicable. Recreate NY Smart Home Buyout Program - $171 million: Certain areas are at high risk for repeated flooding, causing damage to homes and risking the lives of residents and emergency responders. To reduce those risks and provide residents with an opportunity to leave their properties, New York State will offer voluntary Buyouts for homes that were: substantially damaged inside the 500- year flood plain, or located within designated buyout areas where damage occurred and where property may be susceptible to future damage due to sea level rise and other factors. These enhanced buyout areas will be selected in consultation with county and local government officials.

In very high risk areas, there will be a prohibition on rebuilding and these areas will be used as buffer zones. Under the States proposal, and subject to approval by HUD, redevelopment of property outside of the 100-year floodplain that is acquired through a buyout would be permitted, so long as the new structure is built to mitigate future flood impact. Homeowners will be notified if they are eligible for a buyout after HUD has approved this plan.

Homeowners eligible for a buyout will receive the full pre-storm fair market value for their home up to the FHA loan limit. An incentive of up to 5% will also be offered to families that relocate within their home county or borough. Business Assistance

Superstorm Sandy had a profoundly adverse effect on the New York State economy, and has harmed thousands of small businesses. In addition, small businesses impacted by both Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee continue to face needs resulting from these storms. The State proposes to use $415 million to help businesses replace or repair lost or damaged inventory and equipment, repair and mitigate damaged facilities, and cover working capital needs. Bringing Back Business: $415 million. Small Business Grants – $233 million: New York State will direct grant funds to help businesses, including farming and agricultural operations, and non-profits that suffered physical damage or inventory loss, as a result of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene, or Tropical Storm Lee.

Grants of up to $50,000 to cover eligible, uncompensated losses are proposed to enable an affected business to purchase or repair needed equipment, repair or rebuild facilities that were damaged or destroyed in the storm, and/or provide the working capital necessary to sustain and grow the business. The State may extend grants up to a total grant amount of $100,000 to businesses that suffered physical damage and are at risk of closure or significant employment loss without an increase in grant size.

Special Business Mitigation Grants of up to $100,000 are also proposed to cover expenses such as installing back-up generators or elevating key equipment, to help prevent damage to these businesses in future disasters.

Small Business Loans - $130 million: New York State will create a lowinterest loan program to help small businesses, including farming and agricultural operations, and non-profits that are at risk because they suffered losses of inventory, or physical assets as a result of the storm. Loans of up to $1 million may be available to help these businesses purchase or repair needed equipment, repair and rebuild facilities that were damaged or destroyed in the storm, and/or provide the working capital necessary to sustain and grow the business. Loans of higher amounts may be offered to eligible businesses that are at risk of closure or significant employment loss. Terms will be flexible, with interest rates held below 2% for borrowers. Seasonal Tourism Industry Recovery Program — $30 million: While these seasonal tourism businesses will also be eligible to participate in the other small business assistance programs announced today, seasonal small businesses in coastal and riverine communities require an immediate injection of support to ensure that they can reopen and operate in time for the upcoming summer season. Accordingly, the State seeks to provide grants of up to $50,000 to eligible businesses in this industry. The grants will cover otherwise eligible, uncompensated losses and working capital needs to help them prepare for the coming season.

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