State and federal officials announced Friday the federal approval of New York State's plan to distribute Sandy relief money in the form of community development block grants.
Speaking in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Charles Schumer and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan discussed the specific allocation of $1.7 billion in federal housing funds.
It's broken down to about $838 million in housing money and $415 million in economic development.
The money is expected to meet some of the short-term needs of New Yorkers.
Officials have an eye toward the upcoming summer tourism season along the shore areas. The idea is get grant money to small businesses to get them up and running, and of course help those who live near the shore rebuild and repair damaged homes.
"So we're not just going to build back, we're going to build back better than before," said Cuomo. "With the funding that we have in the supplemental, with the response we've had from all levels of government, I think we're poised to do that. We can never make up for the hardship that people went through. But we can use this as a learning and an improving opportunity and I believe that's what we've done thus far. I believe with today's approvals, we're now going to take it to an even new level."
"This president, and this administration, and personally, we will be on the ground in New York and across the region for as long as it takes to make sure that this terrible damage, the second-worst storm in the history of our nation, that the damage is not only repaired, but that we build back better, smarter and stronger," Donovan said.
The new funds are only a small portion of the $60 billion supplemental appropriation approved by the federal government earlier this year.
New York State's share of that is $35 billion.
That money will go towards shoring up infrastructure, reimbursing municipal governments for overtime and other long-term projects.