Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands


Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Recommendations

Author Avianca Bouchedid, Written Jun 25, 2013

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Letter of Recommendations to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan & the President’s Sandy Hurricane Rebuilding Task Force
Dear Friends,

HCDNNJ, Fair Share, and NJ Future are sending this letter of recommendations to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and the President’s  Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force.  We invite you to sign on to this letter, as well as to consider sending your own observations and suggestions regarding disaster preparedness, emergency operations and recovery allocations under separate cover.  Previously, our joint written comments, which many of you have endorsed, have helped inform the rebuilding and response process.  You can sign on in support of the recommendation by clicking here. In order to be listed as a signer, please visit The Housing & Community Development Network of NJ by Wednesday, June 26.

This letter is intended to assist the President’s Task Force in overseeing the Sandy recovery and in preparing for future storms and natural disasters.  Further, we hope it will inform the Task Force’s report to President Obama to be submitted on August 2, 2013. There are Bold Type headings to help you find the recommendations of concern to you in the full text.  Highlights of  our recommendations include:

•    Requiring that the public  be told how the state and local governments plan to conduct emergency response and what they plan to do with the recovery allocations and be given a fair and effective way to comment on those plans to ensure that it is done in ways that help those in need.
•    Enforcing federal civil rights laws that require that funds be spent to help low and moderate-income people: including that rehabilitating and building replacement housing, be done in a way that decreases economic and racial segregation and that uses local workers and contractors to do the work.
•    Creating working groups and programs to meet all of the direct needs of regular people, from immediate, emergency shelter after a storm, to relocation counseling and mental health counseling.  We ask that, without putting people back in harm’s way, communities be rebuilt and made better, and that low-income, hard-working renters be given the help they need just as home owners are assisted in rebuilding.
•    Requiring rebuilding of communities in ways designed to protect against future storms.  Rebuilding should be coordinated between county and local governments, working closely with non-profits and the state, using the most up to date and green technologies available.
•    Collecting information about who and what was damaged must be done in a way that not only helps people get immediate shelter, but also to plan for and rehabilitate or build a place they can call home in a community in which they want to live.  We also strongly urge that this information be posted on state websites so that everyone can use it in figuring out what needs to be done and how to do it as effectively as possible.

Please sign your organization onto the letter here and please circulate the letter widely among your networks and encourage them to sign as well. Our comments will be strongest with a broad base of support. Again, the deadline to sign the letter is 5PM, this Wednesday, June 26.

If you have any questions, please contact myself or Lorena Gaibor, Sandy Rebuilding Coordinator at

Thanks so much for everything you do!

Staci Berger