City tapped to get $188M in federal disaster relief

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The federal government have set to pay out a $188 million disaster relief grant to New York City, federal housing Secretary Marcia Fudge announced.

Mayor Eric Adams said that he is considering using the money to pay down city debt from recent disasters and for funding workforce development programs.

The city’s grant is part of a package of $2.2 billion in grants going to 10 cities and 13 states, earmarked for relief from 16 major disasters in 2021. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had previously announced $722 million in payouts for disasters that occurred in 2020.

“Communities have been waiting a long time, and we are getting these funds out as quickly as we possibly can,” Fudge said on a virtual call.

Yet the funds will not come immediately: Cities and states will have to create proposals for how to spend their grants, submit those proposals to a 30-day period of public commenting, and then get HUD to approve it. The whole process could take a few months to a year, according to Kevin Bush, HUD’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs.

Fudge said that local and state governments can choose from a wide range of spending areas for the grant, such as job training and wastewater management.

Adams, who in his first month in office required all city agencies to cut their budgets by 3%, said he is looking at outstanding debt from Hurricane Ida. The storm, which killed 13 people in New York City, caused billions in damage to the region.

“It’s going to assist us in paying some of the bills we accrued from Hurricane Ida,” Adams said. “We’re looking at the infrastructure workforce development. We’re going to look at the full list.”

“Trust me, we could use every dollar, but we have a lot of needs coming out of Ida,” he added.

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