OK


From the statements coming out of Christie's office recently, it sure seems like they don't know the difference between FEMA-controlled and NJ-controlled Disaster Recovery (DR) Funds -- do they?

Only one bucket of these funds does the Christie Administration -- through New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner (DCA) -- have direct control over.  So why are they out and about, deflecting Mayor Zimmer's charges -- by citing funds that the NJ Administration couldn't "hold hostage" even if the wanted to?

Well, apparently they are counting on no one bothering to drill-into the "Post-Sandy Planning Grants" details.


Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer says Chris Christie aides tied Sandy funds to project

by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS -- January 18, 2014

[...]
Christie's office denied Zimmer's claims, calling her statements politically motivated. Spokesman Colin Reed said the administration has been helping Hoboken secure assistance since Sandy struck." Christie himself was raising money Saturday for fellow Republicans in Florida. The fundraisers were closed to reporters.
[...]

A state website that tracks the distribution of Sandy aid shows that Hoboken received a $200,000 post-storm planning grant in October out of a $1.8 billion pot of money controlled by the state. Hoboken also received a $142,000 state energy resilience grant.

Besides state money, Hoboken has received $70 million in recovery funds distributed by the federal government, according to the Christie administration. Zimmer said she has applied for $100 million to implement a comprehensive plan to help insulate her city from future floods.
[...]


Here's the "state website that tracks the distribution of Sandy aid" that has been recently cited by numerous news outlets, it would seem:


Christie Administration Announces More Than $1.8 Million In Post-Sandy Planning Grants

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Office of the Governor

Press Contact:
Michael Drewniak
Colin Reed

First Round Of Grants Will Help 31 Sandy-Impacted Local Governments With Long-Term Recovery Planning

Trenton, NJ – In its effort to promote sound, sustainable long-term recovery from Superstorm Sandy, the Christie Administration today announced the award of more than $1.8 million in Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants to 31 local governments affected by the storm. The first round of grants is in response to applications from municipalities and counties that lost significant tax revenue due to Sandy and demonstrated how planning assistance will lead to greater community resilience. The grants will help these local governments develop recovery plans that strategically address the issues that now confront them.

“Each of the local governments receiving a grant is facing significant challenges that were either created or exacerbated by Sandy, and many of them lost residential and commercial properties to the storm,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner (DCA) Richard E. Constable, III, whose Department is administering many of the Sandy Recovery programs for the state. “The grants will help these towns and counties identify ways to better protect themselves from future storms and encourage sustainable economic growth.”
[...]

Today’s grant recipients are listed below. The grant amounts represent what was requested and substantiated by the local governments.

For more information on Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants, go to
www.nj.gov/dca/services/lps/pspag.html.

County         Local Governmental Entity       Grant Amount

Atlantic     Atlantic City     $345,000
Atlantic     Brigantine City     $30,000
Atlantic     Hamilton Township     $29,000
Atlantic     Margate City     $30,000
Atlantic     Pleasantville City     $30,000
Atlantic     Somers Point City     $30,000
Atlantic     Ventnor City     $30,000
Bergen     Little Ferry Borough     $27,000
Cape May     Ocean City     $26,500
Essex        Essex County       $310,000
Hudson     Hoboken City     $200,000
Middlesex     Edison Township     $30,000
Monmouth     Aberdeen Township     $20,000
Monmouth     Belmar Borough     $29,950
Monmouth     Keansburg Borough     $30,000
Monmouth     Keyport Borough     $29,900
Monmouth     Neptune Township     $30,000
Monmouth     Oceanport Borough     $30,000
Monmouth     Rumson Borough     $19,000
Monmouth     Sea Bright Borough     $20,000
Monmouth     Union Beach Borough     $30,000
Ocean     Barnegat Township     $30,000
Ocean     Bay Head Borough     $29,950
Ocean     Berkeley Borough     $26,000
Ocean     Lacey Township     $24,500
Ocean     Lavallette Borough     $205,000
Ocean     Little Egg Harbor Township     $28,000
Ocean     Ocean Township     $26,000
Ocean     Point Pleasant Beach Borough     $28,000
Ocean     Stafford Township     $30,000
Union     Union County     $30,000


Notice how that says previous list says "Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants."  Well those Grants are "a subset" of another bigger Sandy Relief fund bucket -- one known as "Community Development Block Grant -- Disaster Recovery funds," the monies of which were provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the State of New Jersey, to allocate locally as they see fit, as the local needs demand it.


December 20, 2013 -- Sandy Recovery -- Christie Administration Announces Post-Sandy Planning Grants for Woodbridge and South River

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, December 20, 2013

Christie Administration Announces Post-Sandy Planning Grants for Woodbridge and South River

Grants Will Help Sandy-Impacted Local Governments with Long-Term Recovery Planning

Trenton, NJ – In the Christie Administration’s ongoing effort to promote sound, sustainable long-term recovery from Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III today announced the award of Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants to two more Middlesex County municipalities to develop long-range plans to become resilient in the event of future significant weather events.
[...]

Grant money can be specifically put towards community development and neighborhood plans, development of design standards specific to flood hazard areas, and development of codes, ordinances, standards and regulations necessary to implementing plans for resiliency and mitigation.

To date, the DCA has received grant requests from local governments for $4.5 million of the $5 million program fund. Edison Township received a $30,000 Post-Sandy Planning Grant in the first round of awards announced October 1.

The Post-Sandy Planning Assistance Grants are funded through Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery monies provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The $5 million program is available to each of the nine counties most impacted by Sandy as determined by HUD (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union) and all of the municipalities within those counties that have experienced a ratable loss of at least 1% or $1 million due to the storm.
[...]


Here's some more about those very specific "local needs," that the $1.8 Billion dollar "Community Development Block Grant" (CDBG), the NJ-gift from HUD, is supposed to locally meet:


January 16, 2014 -- Sandy Recovery -- Christie Administration Announces More Than $800 Million Milestone In Federal Sandy Housing Recovery Funds For Families In Need

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 16, 2014

Christie Administration Announces More Than $800 Million Milestone In Federal Sandy Housing Recovery Funds For Families In Need

More Than 70 Percent Of Housing Recovery Funds Have Been Disbursed or Committed To Affected New Jerseyans, Including 73 Percent To Low & Moderate Income Families

[...]
The Christie Administration exceeded the $800 million mark in the eight months since the Obama Administration approved the state’s $1.83 billion New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan that allocates $1.159 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds to housing recovery programs for homeowners, renters and rental property owners.
[...]

The $180 million Homeowner Resettlement Program, which provides eligible Sandy-impacted homeowners with a $10,000 grant to incentivize them to stay in their home community rather than relocating, is almost entirely obligated, with $166 million in funding committed or expended.  [...]

The $600 million Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program is a construction-based program encumbered by numerous federal requirements in place largely in response to abuse and fraud post-Katrina. New Jersey and all other states receiving CDBG Disaster Recovery funds must abide by these federal regulations before awarding any construction-based grants. [...]
[...]

The New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan, which was approved April 29, 2013, details how the State is distributing the $1,829,520,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds to help homeowners, renters, businesses and communities impacted by Sandy. Pursuant to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Action Plan focuses predominantly on the nine counties most affected by the storm as determined by HUD (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union) and on assisting low- to moderate-income families.


OK 9 NJ counties identified by HUD, as in need of these targeted Disaster Recovery funds -- any guesses on how much of that $1.8B recovery bucket, made its way to Hudson County (where the city of Hoboken is located)?

Well, a rational fair-minded person would probably guess:  somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% -- Right?

Well, in the State of New Jersey, apparently fair-minded rationality, or even-handed distribution of relief, has very little to do with it ...


It's not that the Christie Administration is ignorant of the stated purpose of these HUD-targeted Disaster Recovery funds -- even though they act like it sometimes.

It's just that the Christie Administration want to keep YOU -- the general public -- ignorant about them.  A Fund is a Fund; A Grant is a Grant, Right?  Who cares about what "Block" they're from, or what "blocks" they are supposed to go too?

Well, according to Governor Chris Christie's own rather serious "Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery, ACTION PLAN" -- he should.


New Jersey Department of Community Affairs [DCA]

Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery {12 MB pdf}

ACTION PLAN -- www.nj.gov

Chris Christie, Governor

Kim Guadago, Lt. Governor

Richard E. Constable, III, Commissioner

[pg 6]

Executive Summary

[...]
The breadth of Sandy’s impact across New Jersey emphasizes the need for a thoughtful and comprehensive long-term recovery process. This Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Action Plan (Action Plan) is part of that process. It quantifies the level of damage known thus far based on current data and describes New Jersey’s plan for spending the $1,829,520,000 Community Disaster Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds, which HUD allocated to New Jersey as part of its initial $5,400,000,000 fund allocation. CDBG-DR funds must be used to satisfy “unmet needs,” that is, financial needs not satisfied by other public or private funding sources like FEMA Individual Assistance funds, Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans or private insurance. HUD also requires that CDBG-DR programs focus predominantly, but not exclusively, on the State’s most impacted counties and on the State’s low and moderate income (LMI) populations.

[pg 9]

[...] Per an evaluation performed by HUD, New Jersey will receive $1,829,520,000 of the initial $5,400,000,000 CDBG-DR fund distribution to assist the State’s recovery efforts. Additional allocations are expected to be made at a subsequent date to be determined by HUD. Funds must be spent within two years unless HUD provides an extension.

CDBG-DR funds appropriated in the Act are subject to additional guidance provided by HUD in the Federal Register (FR-5696-N-01). For example, HUD requires that each grantee expend at least 80% of its allocation in the most impacted and distressed counties, which in New Jersey HUD identified to be Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union Counties. Funds only can be used for eligible disaster-related activities unless HUD provides a waiver. Moreover, sufficient monitoring protections must be in place to prevent waste, fraud and abuse. And as a precondition to receiving CDBG-DR funds, New Jersey must submit a comprehensive Action Plan that details its unmet needs and describes the proposed uses of CDBG-DR funds to address those needs.

[pg 10]

New Jersey Action Plan

Governor Christie has designated the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) as the entity responsible to HUD for administering the distribution of CDBG-DR funds for New Jersey. This Action Plan was developed after having received considerable input from other State departments and agencies, affected communities and stakeholder groups and with support from federal government partners.

Section 2 of the Action Plan provides an impact and unmet needs assessment that details many of the impacts of Superstorm Sandy and identifies the State’s current projection of unmet need. The unmet needs assessment is based on currently available data and likely will change. The State will continue to refine its unmet needs assessment as more data become available.
[...]

Section 4 sets forth New Jersey’s proposed programs. While housing and economic recovery are the leading priorities that will be addressed with the first allocation of CDBG-DR funds from HUD, the State also proposes to allocate CDBG-DR funds to support infrastructure projects, enable municipalities to provide essential services to their communities, address health and social services for individuals in need, and provide code enforcement support to localities.  [Table 4-1 Method of Distribution -- on pg 45]

Section 5 addresses New Jersey’s performance schedule for its proposed programs. At this time, it is premature to set out detailed performance metrics. The State will timely amend its Action Plan to describe performance metrics when appropriate. [Table Performance Metrics -- on pg 71]
[...]

Performance Metrics

Program Category     Total Funding         Estimated Outcomes

Homeowner Housing     $780,000,000.00     26,000 Homeowners Assisted
Rental Housing              $379,520,000.00     5,250 Rental Units Assisted
Economic Revitalization $460,000,000.00     10,000 Businesses Assisted
FEMA Match Program     $50,000,000.00         2,000 Applicants for Assistance
Supportive Services     $10,000,000.00         5,000 Individuals Assisted
Public Services        $60,000,000.00         60 Governmental Agencies to Benefit
Code Enforcement       $6,000,000.00         30,000 Home Inspections Completed
Administration/Planning $84,000,000.00

[...]

You'd think they would know better -- that "fairness" in the distribution of these "CDBG-DR funds for New Jersey" citizens -- would be a given.

You'd think that the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) would be very mindful of the desperate local needs -- people are still living in hotels and trailers afterall.  Those local communities, hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, STILL desperate need these "Block Grants" -- exclusively under the NJ DCA's control.

Picking "winners and losers" among those 9 NJ counties -- based on other private land development agendas -- really shouldn't have anything to do with the distribution of these HUD-provided funds.

But if you can be bothered to do the larger-bucket CDBG math, it would seem like it does:


Sandy Recovery Division -- State of New Jersey

www.state.nj.us/dca

The Sandy Recovery Division manages the majority of the federal funds being used to assist the State in recovering from Superstorm Sandy. These funds come from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Division is committed to efficiently and effectively addressing the long-term needs of New Jersey’s Sandy-impacted residents and communities through programs designed to help homeowners, tenants, landlords, developers and local governments.

Please click here for Sandy Recovery Updates


CDBG DISASTER RECOVERY ACTION PLAN

    CDBG Disaster Recovery Action Plan (Complete as of September 30, 2013, incorporating amendments 1 through 3 within text.) [pdf 12mb]   {cited above}

    Please click here to view an interactive data dashboard of Sandy CDBG Disaster Recovery program obligations and expenditures. www.newjerseyrebuild.org/

OK, curious citizen that I am, I clicked that last link, which brought me to a very big bucket "NJ-Funds Allocations" page:
Welcome to New Jersey Department of Community Affairs

Superstorm Sandy CDBG-DR Dashboard

[Data as of 01/14/2014]  {as stated on this DCA accountability website.}

ALLOCATIONS - Statewide

Housing

    Housing Resettlement Program (HRP)     $180,000,000
    Reconstruction Rehabilitation Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREM)     $600,000,000
    Small Rental Properties/Landlord Rental Repair Program (LRRP)     $70,000,000
    Incentives for Landlords (INCLL)     $40,000,000
    Blight Reduction Pilot Program/Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP)     $30,000,000
    Fund for Restoration of Large Multi-Family Housing (LMF)     $179,520,000
    Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program (SHBA)     $25,000,000
    Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund (SNH)     $25,000,000
    Pre-Development Fund (PREDEV)     $10,000,000

      TOTAL     $1,159,520,000

      Estimated Benefit to LMI     77%


Economic Development

    Small Business Loans (SBL)     $100,000,000
    Tourism Marketing (TMKT)     $25,000,000
    Small Business Grants (SBG)     $260,000,000
    Neighborhood and Community Revitalization (NCR)     $75,000,000

      TOTAL     $460,000,000

      Estimated Benefit to LMI     15%


Planning and Infrastructure

    Continuation and Enhancement of Essential Public Services (EPS)     $60,000,000
    FEMA Match Program (FMP)     $50,000,000
    Code Enforcement (CODE)     $6,000,000
    Supportive Services Program (SSP)     $10,000,000
    Administrative/Planning (AP)     $84,000,000

      TOTAL     $210,000,000

      Estimated Benefit to LMI     31%


[Note:  from previous quoted DCA document, LMI = low and moderate income. ]


So, some quick excel math for the Statewide CDA allocations (vs the Hudson County CDA allocations, as of 1-14-2014):

$1,159,520,000   Housing
$  460,000,000   Economic Development
$  210,000,000   Planning and Infrastructure
--------------
$1,829,520,000   NJ Statewide Total Allocations -- from the Community Development         Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery programs funds.  

AWARDED - Hudson County

    Homeowner Resettlement Program (HRP)     $3,660,000
    *Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program (RREM)     $6,500,000
    **Small Rental Properties/Landlord Rental Repair Program (LRRP)     $750,000
    Fund for Restoration of Large Multi-Family Housing (LMF)     $12,729,428
    Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund (SNH)     $3,597,388
    Small Business Grants (SBG)     $551,869

      TOTAL     $27,788,685

   
$27,788,685 /
$1,829,520,000  x 100

1.52%    Hudson County which includes Hoboken, received 1.5% of these statewide Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery programs funds.

1.52% of     the $1.8 Billion in Federal funds provided by HUD, the distribution of which was managed by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) -- to be locally allocated, according to specific guidelines.

Allocated by the "New Jersey entity" also known as:

Chris Christie, Governor

Kim Guadago, Lt. Governor

Richard E. Constable, III, Commissioner


If you prefer Pie Charts, well here's the same tabular math (above), which shows show Hudson County's miniscule share of NJ-CDBG-DR funds, vs the entire state:


larger image


OR if you prefer a GIS Map drill-down utility, well the NJ-DCA Dashboard page, provides an "app" for that too:

To select a county, mouse over it and click.
For more mapping features, click here.
Allow me to save you some map-layering, app-surfing aggravation (FWIW).  There, I managed to drill-down to the Municipality of Hoboken, itself:


larger image

Awarded -- but STILL barely Disbursed ... as of Jan 14, 2014.




Bottom-line is when it comes to Disaster recovery relief funds, controlled exclusively by the State of New Jersey ...

Fair should be only fair, Right?  

Well, according to the Mayor of Hoboken Dawn Zimmer, sometimes when it comes to the Christie Administration, the FAIR distribution of these Post-storm Planning funds is very far from a rational assumption.


1.5% far ... from a presumed 10% (1 out of 9 Counties) ballpark, rational-metric of FAIR.



Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 01:45 PM PST.

Also republished by Christie Investigations.

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