First Selectman Gayle Weinstein met with representatives of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Connecticut legislative delegation in Washington, D.C., last week to talk about federal aid in the wake of Tropical Storm Sandy.
Ms. Weinstein said she and Yvonne Klein, former first selectman of Darien and Connecticut’s newest Department of Housing commissioner, traveled to Washington to make sure Connecticut gets its fair share of “second tranche funding” for Sandy relief — the second round of allocations dispersed to state’s affected by the destructive superstorm.
There were also representatives from Milford, Bridgeport, Stamford, and other shoreline towns who were all talking about rebuilding homes that were damaged or lost during the storm that hit last fall.
Ms. Weinstein said while she understands the need to recoup losses, she would like to see a shift in the way the federal government allocates money for disaster relief. Rather than giving money simply to repair and rebuild, she believes it would be wiser to “give money for resiliency,” she said.
“At some point, instead of the federal government giving money to rebuild the same things, we have to realize it’s much more cost effective and proactive to give money to bolster resiliency, instead of just being reactive,” Ms. Weinstein said.
During her trip to the capital on June 5, Ms. Weinstein met with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy and 4th District Rep. Jim Himes, as well as high level staffers at HUD.
“I felt it was important to represent the [state’s] interior towns, and to show the severe impact the storm had on us, too,” Ms. Weinstein said. “We may not have had the same flooding issues as the coastal towns, but were certainly impacted by trees” and the loss of power for more than a week, which, she said, posed a significant public health risk. “I felt it was important for HUD to hear our story.”