Sandy Grant Money Heading To New Jersey [AUDIO]
Governor Christie meets with the Federal Housing and Urban Development Department Secretary today to discuss how the Garden State will spend 1.8 billion dollars in Community Development Block Grant money that's been allocated by Congress.
During a visit to Sea Girt, Christie said, "Our goal is to use it predominantly for homeowner grant program and a small business grant program…We know that a lot of our homeowners already have debt. They're getting insurance monies back, but they may not be covering the entire cost of reconstructing their homes, so we'll have them eligible through the Department of Community Affairs - if this approved by HUD. We have to submit our plan, which we will do shortly."
He says if all goes according to plan, "This would allow homeowners to apply for grants to cover that gap, which would exist between insurance. We may not be able to cover the whole gap, but we may be able to help them get a significant way forward…And for small business, the grant program would be administered by the Economic Development Authority. They would be working with small businesses that were damaged by the hurricane and allow those folks then, to get themselves reopened, by using grant money to buy new inventory, finish the repairs to their buildings."
Christie adds, "It won't just be restricted to the shore area because as we know there were spots in Bergen County, in Essex County, Hudson County that were also damaged."
He also pointed out down the road, more money will be distributed by HUD.
"That will be an additional 11 billion dollars distributed to the states…We pushed hard for Block Grants because it gives the maximum amount of flexibility to us to spend the money the way that we see fit, and in New Jersey, the biggest issue here at the shore, in particular, is to get homeowners back in their homes, getting businesses reopened so that things can start moving and beating here again for the summer season."
The Governor adds, " I would hope that by the end of February we're in a position to be able to put that money on the street. Businesses should already be applying on the SBA website - get your information submitted. Right now, there's no grant program on there - there's a loan program- but get on there and put your information in, because you won't be able to apply for the grant program without having worked through SBA…And for homeowners, we're going to have to set up a separate website to apply for it. As soon as we have the program approved, we'll set that up. We already have an idea of how we're going to do it, but we can't do it technically until we get the approval from HUD."