On the same day that Housing and Urban Development Sec. Shaun Donovan
testified about Superstorm Sandy rebuilding efforts, officials approved
Sandy funds for rebuilding after the Seaside fire.
approval of HUD's Community Development Block Grant Action Plan, Gov.
Chris Christie called on the New Jersey Economic Development Authority
to administer $460 million of the state's allocation to support the
recovery of businesses affected by the fire.
The funds will go toward demolition and debris removal.
area of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park that was impacted by the fire
represents a critical hub of business and employment,” Michele
Brown, CEO, EDA, said in a prepared statement. “The unsafe conditions and additional business losses
caused by the fire have not only greatly exacerbated the impact from
Superstorm Sandy, but have also created a dangerous health and safety
hazard which must be addressed immediately.”
She added, “The
steps we have taken to help the victims of the Seaside fire will not
adversely affect any Sandy-impacted business that has applied for grant
or loan funding.
We encourage all business with damage from the storm to apply, as
sufficient funds are available to assist any eligible business that
needs a Stronger NJ Business grant or loan.”
just yesterday announced that electrical wiring, likely compromised by
Sandy flood waters, were the cause of the fire that destroyed blocks of
Speaking on Sandy rebuild efforts, Donovan
testified that "rebuilding must be a community-driven effort with a
community-based vision at its heart."
But Mendez and others questioned Donovan on the length of time it has taken many to access Sandy rebuilding funds.
The length of time in accessing funds is precisely the issue, said Ron Jampel, a Brick resident who has teamed up
with other local residents, including those from Lavallette and Point
Pleasant Beach, in a grass-roots group to lobby for Sandy funding and other issues known as "Save Our Communities."
said he understands that monies are needed to rebuild the boardwalk,
but he said, there is so much red tape in accessing Sandy funds, he felt
the priority should first be to get funds to homeowners who need to get
back in their homes.