Homeowners impacted by Storm Sandy can now apply for federal relief funds online at http://ctrecovers.ct.gov, according to Mayor Ben Blake.

“The Milford community was among the hardest hit by Sandy — affecting over 2,000 properties in the city,” Blake said.  “For the past 10 months, our focus has been on getting those displaced back and helping residents rebuild their lives.  We're hopeful that this funding will assist our shoreline neighborhoods and return our shoreline neighbors to their homes.”

Several relief programs have recently announced they are accepting applications, including the major financial recovery resource, the Department of Housing's (DOH) Owner Occupied Rehabilitation and Rebuilding Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grant — Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.  The program will offer assistance ranging from $10,000 to $150,000 to rehabilitate homes, implement mitigation measures, and make homes more resilient for future storms.  Eligible expenses are those not covered by insurance, FEMA, or any other sources of funding.

Qualified work includes:

Structural repair or replacement of damaged property;

Cost effective energy measures and improvements needed to meet HUD Section 8 Existing Housing Quality Standards;

Lead-based paint abatement, asbestos abatement, handicapped accessibility for special needs;

Mitigation assistance to elevate homes and/or reduce the risk for future disasters;

Appliances — stoves and refrigerators are eligible items but will be considered on a case-by-case basis if they are not present at the time of rehabilitation.

To find out more about the relief funds, the application process, or eligibility requirements, residents can join Blake, Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein, and the DOH's program manager, Hermia Delaire, for an information session on Sept. 9, 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., in the Milford City Hall Auditorium, 110 River Street.  

Milford's Disaster Relief Coordinator, Bill Richards, 203-996-2149, as well as Acting Community Development Director, Tom Ivers, 203-783-3230, are available to help residents who have any questions about recovery.

Funds are available through the following agencies:

United Way of Milford: The Sandy Relief Fund was created through local private contributions and the support of the Regional United Way. Funds are available for housing related expenses, insurance, food, clothing and the replacement of vital personal property.

Limited funds are available for repairs and the costs related to reconstruction planning (engineering, surveys, soil tests, etc.). To seek assistance, contact the Milford Department of Human Services, 150 Gulf Street (203) 783-3253.

Robin Hood Foundation: The City of Milford and the United Way of Milford were awarded $125,000 for Sandy relief activities. Up to $5,000 may be awarded to income eligible households. No cost reimbursements are permitted. Income limits apply (single individual: $28,000 per year, family of four: $57,625 per year).

Funds are available for housing related expenses, insurance, food, clothing and the replacement of vital personal property. Limited funds are available for repairs and the costs related to reconstruction planning (engineering, surveys, soil tests, etc.).

To seek assistance, contact the Milford Department of Human Services, 150 Gulf Street (203) 783-3253.

The Salvation Army: Hurricane Sandy Emergency Assistance - Financial assistance is provided in four categories: 1) Emergency Assistance; clothing, groceries transient lodging 2) Emotional/Medical Assistance; counseling, replacement prescriptions, eyeglasses, medical bills, etc. 3) Transportation Assistance; public transit costs, automotive fuel, auto repairs, etc., and 4) Housing & Property Assistance; property clean-up expenses, utility bills, replacement appliances, furniture and bedding, household items, minor home repairs. Funds are also available for costs related to obtaining permits (engineering, surveys, soil tests, etc.). The maximum award is based on family size ($2,000 for individuals, $6,000 for a family of four). Contact The Salvation Army, 1 Plymouth Place, Milford (203) 301-9905.

American Red Cross: Move-in Assistance Plan - The program goal is to support storm victims in reestablishing a sustainable living environment. The objective of the Move-in Assistance Program is to assist storm victims in moving from a temporary housing situation to a sustainable housing solution.  Funds can be used for home repairs, rental payments, security deposits, utility bills, storage and moving costs, transportation, temporary housing, furniture and appliances. The maximum assistance per household is $10,000. To seek assistance, contact the American Red Cross, 1 Plymouth Place, Milford (877) 287-3327.

State & Federal Resources

Community Development Block Grant Program - Disaster relief (CDBG-DR) - Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), this program was awarded $16 billion in the Sandy Relief Act. The State of Connecticut was awarded $215,460,000, and of that, $30,000,000 has already been allocated. The newly created CT Department of Housing, a division of the Department of Economic & Community Development, has been designated the manager of this program statewide. Funds have been allocated in a HUD approved Action Plan for housing rehabilitation, flood mitigation (elevations) and various other infrastructure work. Rental and ownership properties are eligible for assistance.

There is no income limit but at least 50% of the funds must go to assist household with incomes under 80% of the area median income.  The program will be administered by a service provider contracted by the State of Connecticut. They will be setting up field offices to assist with applications and Milford has requested to be one of those locations.  Applications can also be submitted online. Specific guidelines and application forms are available at http://ctrecovers.ct.gov .

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) - Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the HMGP accepts applications in cycles for projects that protect buildings and property from flood, wind or other natural hazards. The program is most commonly used to assist property owners in flood zones with house elevation projects though funds can also be used for property acquisition for open space. The property must satisfy the municipality's criteria as viable public and/or open space value.

The program has a competitive application process wherein the lowest cost projects with the highest benefits in terms of avoided losses score the highest. Funds are provided for 75% of the project cost requiring a 25% match from the homeowner. Applications are prepared with the homeowner by the municipality and submitted to the CT Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS).

The timeline for application review and approval is typically 9-12 months. DEMHS is now accepting applications and the deadline is November 22, 2013. Applications are assembled and submitted by the Milford Community Development Department, (203) 783-3230.