Hawaii is set to receive about $67 million in new federal disaster relief to help the state recover from torrential rainfall that caused severe flooding on parts of Kauai and Oahu in April 2018, Tropical Storm Lane and the eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii island.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D, Hawaii) said the new funding allocation was part of a $1.7 billion housing disaster recovery package that the U.S. Congress passed last year.
The aid is expected to help the state and local governments rebuild affected communities, particularly in low to moderate income regions, and provide resources to help businesses recover, according to a press release issued by Schatz’s office.
“As we continue to recover from the series of natural disasters that hit our state, these new federal grants will be a huge help,” Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in the press release. “And while this is good news for Hawai‘i, it is not our only chance at additional federal funding. I will continue to fight for federal resources at every opportunity to help Hawai‘i recover.”
The new $67 million in funding is from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program and will bring the total amount that Hawaii has received in federal aid to more than $429 million.
The move by HUD to earmark some of the money from last year for Hawaii allows the state to sidestep the partisan struggle between President Donald Trump and the Congress over a new disaster aid package, Schatz said in an interview today.
Trump has been resisting efforts to funnel more aid to Puerto Rico, and that dispute has stalled the new disaster aid bill. “Hawaii receiving its allocation now takes us out of the firing line and reduces our risk to zero,” Schatz said.
Hawaii has also received disaster aid from the following sources, according to Schatz’s office:
· $206 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help clean up and fix public infrastructure
· $12 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help people who have lost their homes
· $93.1 million from the Department of Transportation to rebuild roads and highways
· $47.2 million from the Small Business Administration in subsidized loans to assist individuals and businesses in paying for repairs not covered by insurance
· $4 million from the Department of Labor in Disaster Unemployment Insurance to assist those who lost their job temporarily or permanently, but did not qualify for regular unemployment benefits
· $187,000 from the Economic Development Administration to provide technical assistance for economic development in areas affected by the natural disasters
The Star-Advertiser’s Kevin Dayton contributed to this report.