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Tipsheet

Connecticut Libs Used Disaster Funds to Rebuild Million Dollar Homes

Government waste is nothing new, and when a hurricane strikes—there will be horrific examples. When billions of dollars are doled out by the government, someone will find a way to collect. In Connecticut, the state opted on a 'steal from the poor to give to the rich' approach to allocating disaster relief after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It at least felt that way when you saw how these resources were distributed.

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Funds intended for the working poor to rebuild their residences as best they could be got blown to rebuild million-dollar homes. Politico uncovered this Versailles scheme, including interviews with folks who were shocked they even received the relief aid knowing that their homes didn’t qualify. They did so on a Hail Mary attempt. In all, 62 million-dollar homes received $6.4 million in funds to repair their homes, which constituted 15 percent of all the disaster relief earmarked for the state (via Politico):

Erik Furno knew it was a long shot when he and his wife applied for federal disaster aid to rebuild their flooded home after Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.

The money was from a program targeted at helping low-income homeowners, a priority that would seem to rule out Furno, an architect living in a house valued at $2.6 million in one of the nation’s richest communities. 

But a couple of years after applying — long after repairs were finished — Furno and his wife got a call from a Connecticut state agency that was distributing the federal money. They would receive the maximum grant available to reimburse their repair costs: $150,000. 

“I was shocked,” Furno said in an interview. “They specifically had told me I probably wasn’t going to get it.” 

The payment is among dozens uncovered by POLITICO’s E&E News that show how a disaster program overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and designed to help needy people gave millions of dollars to people with expensive homes. Connecticut’s response to Sandy raises the kinds of fairness questions that emerge when catastrophes strike both wealthy and impoverished communities — an issue of growing importance as the Earth’s warming brings mega storms and other disasters to largely untouched parts of the country. 

The owners of 62 houses worth more than $1 million along the Connecticut Gold Coast got aid to pay for repairs after Sandy, according to a review of records in dozens of towns. The homeowners received a total of $6.4 million, or 15 percent of the $44 million in HUD aid that went to home repairs in the state. 

The median home value in Connecticut is $311,500, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

[…] 

The payments, first reported by E&E News, came after a little-noticed change to department regulations in 2013 allowed states to reimburse wealthy homeowners for home repairs. The change marked a significant policy shift in the only disaster program created to help low-income people. Though that change was limited to Sandy aid, HUD has since given other states similar flexibility after major disasters. 

The owner of one $5.5 million waterfront home on Nearwater Lane in Darien, Conn., with five bedrooms and a swimming pool, received $150,000. 

Another owner sold their home for $2.6 million after taking a $150,000 grant. 

Twelve of the 62 homes are worth more than $2 million, according to E&E News’ analysis of local assessors’ records.

“It really stinks,” said former HUD analyst Carlos Martín, a Brookings Institution fellow and a leading expert on disaster aid. “That’s not who the disaster recovery program is intended to serve.”

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We have another great moment of the limousine liberals screwing over the working class for millions in relief aid; they can fix up their homes and sell them for huge profits. The best line is from the former HUD staffer who said this isn’t how it’s supposed to work. Uh, you think?!

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