Promoting the $1.8 billion headed to New Jersey for the Sandy rebuild, a member of President Barack Obama's cabinet visited the Jersey shore this week.

Governor Chris Christie, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Mayor Dina Long hold a press conference in Sea Bright (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan admitted it took too long to get the $60 billion aid package approved in Washington, but he said the first round of funding is headed to New Jersey in record time.

"The law said we had to get the money out in 60 days. We did it in one-tenth that time," Donovan told a crowd at the Sea Bright Firehouse.

"We will be here, coming back, as long as this takes," he continued. "For some folks, it's a couple of years before we're going to be fully rebuilt."

Donovan explained that the Sandy devastation is personal for him. He was raised in Brooklyn, blocks from the floodwaters, and married a woman from New Jersey.

The Community Development Block Grant money is meant to assist homeowners and small businesses.

Governor Chris Christie said if all goes according to plan, homeowners and businesses can apply for grants to cover any gaps that couldn't be filled through insurance payments and initial funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He noted the funding will not be restricted to the shore area; spots in Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties were also severely damaged by Sandy.

Secretary Donovan reminded New Jerseyans that it is "absolutely critical" for a homeowner or business to register with FEMA.

"It's important that we know you're out there," he explained. "If we don't know you're there, we can't make money available."

Donovan said funding allocation was primarily dependent on the unmet needs of homeowners and business owners who registered with FEMA.


Governor's Office