Yes you read that right; hurricane Irene. Even as Hurricane Sandy makes its way across the New Jersey coast, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD), is announcing the approval of a $15 million dollar emergency aid package to help repair the damage caused by Irene.
The funding is from HUD's Community Development Block Grant Program. Here is an example of a constructive way to put our tax dollars to use. But perhaps we'll get a double "bang-for-the-buck" by using Irene's money to re-repair everything after hurricane Sandy finishes what Irene started in 2011.
It must be agonizing for victims of these storms, when they have to wait a year for funding to help repair and rebuild. My heart really goes out to many who've just finished rebuilding after Irene, and now have to face the prospect of the "storm of the century" just 14 months later. The irony of "emergency" government aid that takes a year to get approved is that Sandy's damage will perhaps be repaired with Irene's money.
In order to receive approval, the state of New Jersey had to submit a disaster recovery plan to HUD. In response to the approved plan, New Jersey should receive $15,598,506 for repairs or reconstruction in areas which have "unmet needs in housing, business and infrastructure..." that were not covered by private funding sources.
Hurricane Irene is regarded as one of the top ten worst storms since 1980, and did significant damage to the entire northeastern corridor, virtually the same area of impact as hurricane Sandy. Sandy however, has a much larger impact area than Irene. This storm could prove to be much worse than even Irene. Total insured losses from Irene totaled roughly $5.5 billion, with an estimated total economic impact of some $10 billion dollars. If Sandy lives up to predictions, it is likely to cost much more than Irene.