Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy
The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, established by President Obama's Executive Order 13632 on December 7, 2012, released this 200-page report with 69 recommendations, to help the Sandy-affected region continue to recover and rebuild. The Task Force included representatives of nearly two dozen federal departments and agencies, and the strategy incorporates additional contributions from state and local governments and key local constituencies.
In January 2013, Congress passed and the President signed the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (Sandy Supplemental), which provided about $50 billion in funding to support rebuilding in the region. This Rebuilding Strategy establishes guidelines for the investment of the Federal funds made available for recovery.
A subset of recommendations included in this report focus on actions that can better reach and engage "vulnerable populations." The report focuses on the importance of supporting the small business community, commenting that "one-third (7.8 million) [of small businesses] are owned by women and nearly one-fourth (6.1 million) are owned by minorities. More than 60 percent of workers with a disability are employed by small businesses, and more than 60 percent of workers with less than a high school education are employed by small businesses" (p. 99). The report recommends that the Small Business Administration (SBA) build a Disaster Preparedness and Operations Team, fund incubators and accelerators that specifically aim to reach vulnerable populations, and make it easier for business owners to access recovery programs. They also recommend that HUD make more of an effort to reach and support community development financial institutions and small businesses within vulnerable communities.
The President charged the Task Force with identifying and working to remove obstacles to resilient rebuilding, while taking into account existing and future risks and promoting the long-term sustainability of communities and ecosystems in the region.
Among the recommendations that will have the greatest impact on Federal funding is a process to prioritize all large-scale infrastructure projects and map the connections and interdependencies between them, as well as guidelines to ensure all of those projects are built to withstand the impacts of climate change.
The Strategy also explores how to harden energy infrastructure to minimize power outages and fuel shortages - and ensure continuation of cellular service - in the event of future storms. Other recommendations include developing mortgage policies to help homeowners struggling as a result of the storm, and addressing the affordability challenges presented by recent changes to the National Flood Insurance Program and the adoption of the new FEMA flood maps. The task force did not suggest what types of infrastructure might be best suited to protect the shoreline, but endorsed a greater use of natural barriers like wetlands and sand dunes.
In addition to its recommendations, the federal Sandy task force also endorsed an ongoing competition, called "Rebuild by Design," in which 10 teams of architects and engineers from around the world are exploring ways to address vulnerabilities in coastal areas.
Publication Date: August 19, 2013
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Plans (other)