Money Still Flowing to Communities Rebuilding From Irene

Aug 19, 2013

Cities and towns and-nonprofit groups can still apply for federal funding to help communities recover from Tropical Storm Irene and other floods that took place in 2011 or 2012.

The money comes from the Competitive Grants Program, part of the Community Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds, provided by HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Jen Hollar, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development, said she expects to have about $8 million available for “community-driven” projects.

“It could be repairing damages to a municipal building, restoring a damaged child care center, potentially streetscape improvements to a downtown that had been particularly impacted by Tropical Storm Irene,” explained Hollar.

“Culverts or bridges, things that communities now know are not eligible for FEMA funding; all those would be things we would welcome and hope to be able to fund.”

About $5 million has already been awarded. Moretown received a grant to rebuild a municipal building. In one case, a grant helped get a business started. The money was given to the town of Johnson, which then loaned it to a new grocery store to replace one destroyed in the 2011 spring floods.

“The funds are intended to help communities recover economically as well as repairing physical damages,” said Hollar. “But there does need to be a direct link to the declared disasters, whether it be Irene or one of the other flooding events.”

Hollar said this money is designed to help communities finish final recovery projects that FEMA didn’t cover. She says applications should be submitted before the end of the year.

To learn more about how the Community Development Block Grant money has been spent in Vermont check out the latest installment of VPR’s Mapping the Money project.