This week, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the federal government approved New Jersey’s plan to spend $228 million of federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to assist households and communities that were impacted by Hurricane Ida in 2021.
The approval of New Jersey’s Action Plan by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will allow the State to fund the restoration of Ida-damaged homes, provide rental assistance to people impacted by Hurricane Ida, support hardest hit and financially strained communities, buy out homes in communities vulnerable to repetitive flooding, and finance resilient infrastructure projects throughout New Jersey to protect the state from future storms. The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which houses the Division of Disaster Recovery and Mitigation, is the state agency responsible for administering the federal CDBG-DR funds.
In the HUD-approved plan for the $228 million, at least 70% of these funds will benefit low- to moderate-income persons or households. To address New Jersey’s substantial housing recovery needs, the State will spend $153 million to support Ida-impacted homeowners and renters. The Action Plan includes:
- $68.9 million for the Homeowner Assistance and Recovery Program (HARP) to provide grants to eligible homeowners for work necessary to restore their Ida-damaged homes, including rehabilitation, reconstruction, elevation, and/or mitigation activities such as utility retrofits, grading, and slope stabilization, and drainage improvements.
- $30 million for Smart Move, which will subsidize the development of quality, energy-efficient, resilient, and affordable housing in lower flood risk areas within or near storm-impacted communities that are participating in Blue Acres or other residential property buyout programs.
- $20 million for the Small Rental Repair Program, which will provide zero-interest, forgivable loans to owners of rental properties with one to seven units that need to be rehabbed because of damage from Hurricane Ida.
- $16 million for the Blue Acres Program, which involves the voluntary buyout of residential properties located in floodways and floodplains to reduce the risk from future flooding.
- $15 million for the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program, which will provide rental assistance to low-income households impacted by Hurricane Ida who rent. The program will initially prioritize households with incomes at or below 30% of area median income (AMI).
- $3 million for Housing Counseling and Legal Services, which is a collaboration of HUD-certified, nonprofit, community-based organizations, and legal services providers that provide a wide range of supportive assistance such as foreclosure prevention, relocation services, debt management, assistance with application intake for CDBG-DR-funded programs, and legal advice and representation.
- $54 million for the Resilient Communities Program. This competitive program will provide funding to local governments in those counties most impacted and distressed by Hurricane Ida for infrastructure projects that will help communities become more resilient to current and future natural hazards.
- $4 million for FEMA Non-Federal Cost Share. This program will fund the non-federal cost share faced by state government and local governments that rehabilitate damaged public infrastructure systems and/or build new systems under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.
- $5 million for the Resilient New Jersey Program, which will make direct allocations to units comprised of local governments, regional teams, and consultant teams to support local and regional resilience planning. The program will build on the existing efforts of Resilient NJ, a climate resilience planning, guidance, and technical assistance program set up following Superstorm Sandy to support local and regional climate resilience planning.
- $1 million to develop a Statewide Housing Mitigation Strategy Tool to assess the housing stock in disaster-impacted and at-risk areas, particularly low- to moderate-income communities. The State and local governments and partners will be able to use this tool to make informed development and floodplain management decisions and to target resources toward the greatest need.
As announced in November 2022, New Jersey will also receive an additional $149.2 million in CDBG-DR funds for Hurricane Ida recovery. Upon issuance of rules from HUD for use of these funds, DCA will draft and post for comment an amendment to the Hurricane Ida Action Plan to specify how the $149.2 million will be used.
New Jersey’s Action Plan was developed in consultation with residents, county and municipal officials, nonprofit organizations, and other stakeholders in New Jersey, as well as with input DCA received from people who completed the Hurricane Ida Registration Survey.
DCA anticipates launching the Homeowner Assistance and Recovery Program (HARP), Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program, Housing Counseling and Legal Services, and Small Rental Repair Program by March 2023. Other programs will launch in the coming months as well.
Contact: Paul Penna, Senior Legislative Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481, x110.