After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Congress apportioned More than $50 billion was spent on disaster relief.Including $16 billion The Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR) of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).Connecticut received $159 million.
CDBG-DR is primarily designed to help low-income populations cope with disasters.but a new politician investigation shows that, as low-income areas of Connecticut remained in disrepair after the storm, generous reimbursements and low-interest loans went to wealthy homeowners who, in theory, shouldn’t even qualify.
In Bridgeport, where the median household income is just over half the state average, 25 homeowners received $1.7 million in home repairs, but damage to Bridgeport home still unrepaired is estimated Over $1.1 million.
Meanwhile, in bustling towns like Darien and Greenwich, politician Sixty-two households were found to have received five- and six-figure grants to repair homes valued at $1 million or more. These homeowners received a total of $6.2 million in assistance, about 15 percent of the $44 million allocated for home repairs.
In some cases, homeowners make repairs with their own money and receive a grant a few months later. Even if they don’t have cash on hand, they’re not without options: Half of the 62 households borrowed against their home equity to finance repairs, an option for renters or those without sizable net worth. is not available.
A Greenwich family got $100,000 in mortgage refinance, and one family member cashed in airline miles to put them in a Hyatt after the storm hit. But in addition to the insurance payout, the same family borrowed an $87,000 disaster loan from the Small Business Administration and received $30,000 in disaster relief assistance from FEMA.
Then nearly two years after the restoration was complete, the family received $92,000 in disaster relief funds.Another owner told politician After repairs were completed on his $2.6 million home, he received $150,000, the maximum.
A homeowner in Greenwich told politician Although the family spent more than $150,000 of their own money to rebuild, the extra money allowed them to invest in upgrades and increase the value of the home. In fact, 21 of the 62 homes sold after the renovations were completed, for an average price of $1.77 million.
On the one hand, generous benefit programs, such as those provided by politician It’s ripe for abuse, and unfortunately, it’s no surprise that the rich and famous get a sizable chunk of the money. But federal relief programs also promote perverse incentives that exacerbate the hazards of natural disasters.
this politician According to the article, “As climate change exacerbates storms, floods and wildfires, HUD disaster assistance becomes even more important.” In fact, disaster assistance programs actually encourage people to live in unsafe areas. Since 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) subsidized Provide flood insurance in areas of higher flood risk that the private insurance market would otherwise be afraid to set foot in. As a result, more people moved to flood and hurricane-prone areas because the cost of living was artificially lowered rather than allowing the market to determine the appropriate level of risk.
Property covered by NFIP is often higher value higher than the national average. Additionally, a significant portion is not primary residences, which means second homes and vacation properties.
quote the greenwich family politician There have been real hardships, but they also have ways to recover without federal assistance. Wealthy homeowners are free to choose if they want to live in places that are likely to experience severe weather events, but it shouldn’t be the federal government’s responsibility to help protect them from the aftermath.