Sandy Recovery Sets Stage for Rebuilding in NJ and Nationwide
Broad coalition submits recommendations to federal rebuilding task force


Lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts can be applied to future disasters in communities across the nation, according to community stakeholders. Over 100 nonprofit developers, service providers, community leaders and other advocates sent a letter to President Obama's Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force outlining a series of observations and suggestions to the Task Force regarding disaster preparedness, emergency operations and the recovery allocations.

President Obama established the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force by executive order to ensure that there was cabinet-level, government-wide and region-wide coordination to provide appropriate resources to support Sandy devastated communities. Led by U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, the task force has organized recovery efforts with not only government officials but also the private sector, non-profit, community, and philanthropic organizations.

The task force will be submitting to the president an update on recovery efforts and has solicited input from organizations involved thus far. On behalf of community stakeholders the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network), New Jersey Future, and Fair Share Housing Center have sent a letter to Secretary Donovan with recommendations to be considered in the task force's update to the president.

"The Obama Administration has been very receptive to comments from those on the ground working hard on recovery and they have remained committed to this region," said Lorena Gaibor, sandy rebuilding coordinator for the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (the Network). "We appreciate being given the opportunity to share our experiences and expertise so that those dealing with natural disasters in other parts of the country have some sort of blueprint for recovery."

"The Sandy Rebuilding Task Force has an important job – to learn from recent disasters and identify the best ways to protect people and property in New Jersey and across the country," said Peter Kasabach, New Jersey Future executive director. "Their report should help answer the question, how can the billions of dollars in federal rebuilding funds be coordinated and spent to make us safer?  To cite one specific example, the task force recommendations must address the hard-hit communities who need help not just recovering today but also planning for a future with more frequent storms and rising sea levels."    

Along with sustainable building, housing advocates had been particularly concerned with equitable distribution of funds to make sure that everyone impacted by the storm had a fair opportunity to rebuild. Funding allocations in an initial proposal favored homeowners over renters by a four to one margin despite both groups being effected nearly equally. Advocates were able to work with HUD and the Christie administration to modify that provision to direct an additional $75 million in resources towards hard-hit renters.

"Everyone should have an opportunity to come home and rebuild after Sandy - renters and owners, rich and poor," said Adam Gordon, Fair Share Housing Center staff attorney. "Federal funds should benefit fairly everyone who was impacted, and these recommendations would help address some of the problems we have seen to date in the recovery after Sandy."

To view the letter sent by the group of over 100 signatories can be viewed at For more information on the Network, visit

For more information: 

Nina Arce

(609) 393-3752 x12

[email protected]

Peter Kasaback

(609) 393-0008 x104

[email protected]

Adam Gordon

(856) 665-5444

[email protected]