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Many states across the nation saw more than their fair share of natural disasters in 2011. These disasters left entire regions struggling to recover.  

That's why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has allocated $400 million in aid to eight states which experienced Presidentially declared natural disaster zones.  

"Last year, I personally saw the extent of the destruction left behind by several of these disasters, the hardship these communities are feeling, and the work that lies ahead," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "These funds will supplement other forms of disaster assistance to put these states and local areas on the path toward long-term recovery."

While there were other communities affected by natural disasters in 2011, Congress and HUD focused theses funds on those areas deemed most affected and in the greatest "unmet" need. These grants are designed to help with recovery efforts.

Those areas were:

New York - $93,213,963

The State of New York will receive $71,654,116 and will target at least 80 percent of these funds to assist Schoharie, Tioga, Broome, Greene, and/or Orange Counties in recovering from the extensive flooding from Hurricane Irene and the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee. In addition, Orange County will receive $11,422,029 and Union Township will receive $10,137,818 directly from HUD to support recovery efforts.

North Dakota - $79,358,648

The State of North Dakota will receive $11,782,684. The state will direct at least 80 percent of this grant to help Ward County to recover from severe flooding. In addition, HUD is providing $67,575,964 directly to the City of Minot which was especially hard hit by the flooding and had the greatest extent of unmet needs in the state.

Alabama - $55,566,078

HUD will allocate $24,697,966 to the State of Alabama to support long-term disaster recovery, at least 80 percent of which will be targeted to Tuscaloosa, Marion, Jefferson and/or DeKalb Counties. HUD will also directly provide $16,634,702 to City of Tuscaloosa; $7,847,084 to Jefferson County; and $6,386,326 to the City of Birmingham to recover from last April's severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding.

Missouri - $53,985,768

The State of Missouri will receive $8,719,059, at least 80 percent of which will support long-term recovery activities in Jasper County following last spring's severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. In addition, the City of Joplin will receive $45,266,709 directly from HUD to support its efforts to recover from last year's devastating tornado.

Pennsylvania - $49,297,140

HUD is allocating $27,142,501 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, at least 80 percent of which will be directed to Bradford, Dauphin, Columbia, Wyoming, and/or Luzerne Counties which had significant damage following Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. In addition, Luzerne County will receive $15,738,806 and Dauphin County will receive $6,415,833 directly from HUD.

Texas - $31,319,686

The State of Texas will receive $31,319,686 and will target at least 80 percent of this assistance to Bastrop County which suffered the greatest extent of damage and destruction from a series of wildfires that occurred from late summer through the autumn.

Vermont - $21,660,211

HUD is allocating $21,660,211 to the State of Vermont which will target at least 80 percent of these funds in Washington and Windsor Counties which saw the greatest degree of damage, primarily flooding, from Tropical Storm Irene.

New Jersey - $15,598,506

The State of New Jersey will receive $15,598,506, at least 80 percent of which will assist Passaic County to recover from the severe impacts of Hurricane Irene. The funds are expected to help these communities meet housing, business, and infrastructure needs. In order to qualify for these grants, grantees will need to submit action plans to HUD showing how they'll use the funds and how that plan will address long-term recover.

Hopefully, this government gift will help these heavily impacted communities to take a strong step forward towards recovery.

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