PATERSON — U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) today announced the approval of the State of New Jersey’s disaster recovery plan totaling $15.6 million in emergency aid to help communities throughout New Jersey, specifically Passaic County, to recover from Hurricane Irene. The funding, provided through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development' (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, will support long-term disaster recovery efforts in local communities devastated by last year’s disasters.
"Flood mitigation and management has always been a top priority of mine because Passaic River Valley residents should not have to live in the constant fear that the next spring rainstorm will devastate their homes and businesses, or worse, put lives at risk," said Rep. Pascrell, a former member of the House Water Resources Subcommittee who served as one of eight co-chairs of the Congressional Hurricane Irene Coalition. "Since Hurricane Irene, the government has reacted swiftly by providing funding to continue to assist with buyouts in flood prone areas, providing nearly $20 million to Wayne alone to purchase 72 homes within the floodplain. With this HUD funding, we can now provide residents of Passaic County the assistance they have been desperately waiting for to help them rebuild their lives after Hurricane Irene."
On November 18, 2011, Congress appropriated $300 million in CDBG funds to support long-term disaster recovery in “the most impacted and distressed areas” throughout the nation. At that same time, Congress gave HUD the authority to allocate up to $100 million in additional CDBG funds to assist in the wake of last year’s disasters. Secretary Shaun Donovan elected to exercise HUD’s full authority by targeting the maximum amount of CDBG funding allowed toward helping states and local areas.
Earlier this year, HUD allocated $15,598,506 to the State of New Jersey, at least 80 percent of which will assist Passaic County to recover from the severe impacts of Hurricane Irene.
Projects to be funded by the HUD grants include $1.9 million to buyout 17 homes in flood prone areas in Wayne to create parkland, $2.1 million for the remediation and upgrade of soil erosion along McDonald Brook in Passaic City, $2.1 million to buyout 9 homes in flood prone areas in Paterson to create parkland and $537,188 towards the elevation of 12 homes in Pompton Lakes.
Rep. Pascrell secured $1 million in the President’s FY2013 budget for the Passaic River Reevaluation Study, which the Department of Environmental Protection began pursuing after it was recommended by Governor Christie’s Passaic River Flood Commission. Both the House and the Senate have approved legislation fully funding this request. A Feasibility Cost-Sharing agreement between the Army Corps and the NJDEP was recently signed to allow Phase 1 of the study to begin.
In recent years Rep. Pascrell secured nearly $40 million for buyouts of flood prone homes in the Passaic River Basin. This includes $6,569,525.50 for buyouts of 41 properties in areas of Paterson, and Pompton Lakes, $3.1 million to Pompton Lakes for voluntary buyouts of approximately 13 homes, $6.3 million for approximately 56 homes in Wayne, and $2.9 million for approximately 15 homes in Little Falls. This funding followed a nearly $20 million award to the town of Wayne to buy out 72 homes, the largest award in the history of the State.
In July Rep. Pascrell voted in favor of H.R.4348 - MAP-21 (Transportation Bill), which also extends the National Flood Insurance Program to 2015. The bill also eliminated the local cost share for FEMA’s flood buyout grants for properties on the Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) list and allows for individuals to apply directly to FEMA for buyouts.