Friday, August 29, 2014

NJ: Second Summer Since Sandy Sees New Progress

As The Second Summer Since Sandy Comes To A Close, The Christie Administration Remains Committed To Helping Families Across New Jersey Rebuild Stronger

Over $1.1 Billion In CDBG-DR Funding Out The Door Or In The Pipeline:

Sandy’s destruction caused $36.9 billion worth of damage and needs – the largest and most ferocious storm in New Jersey’s history. The Christie Administration launched more than 50 recovery and rebuilding programs and initiatives at an unprecedented pace while working to direct billions in relief funding through a variety of sources into New Jersey.

·         Today, 15 months after the first round of Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funds started flowing in New Jersey, $1.1 billion is out the door or in the pipeline.

o    Of the more than two-thirds of the housing money that has been obligated so far, 73 percent has been awarded to low and moderate income (LMI) families, which is defined as those with income less than 80 percent of an area’s median income.
o    More than 8,700 Sandy-impacted homeowners have been preliminarily awarded a grant through the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation & Mitigation (RREM) Program.
o    All 18,533 eligible homeowners have received or will soon receive a $10,000 check from the Resettlement Program, an initiative aimed at helping homeowners to defray costs and remain in their home county while rebuilding their Sandy-damaged house.
o    More than 800 businesses have been approved for Stronger NJ Business grants and loans totaling more than $88.4million.

Obama HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan: “Sandy was a tragedy of a scale—I’m a New Yorker—that I have never seen. And, by definition, money can never get to families fast enough to repair that damage. And so, are there things that could move faster? Absolutely right. But, if you look at overall, this money is moving faster than in any prior major disaster.” (MSNBC, 1/29/14)

Elevating Homes To Protect From Future Storms:

In order to protect New Jersey communities from future storms, the Christie Administration launched a $100 million grant program to assist homeowners elevate their homes. Targeted at homes in the nine counties hardest hit by Sandy, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Elevation Program provides up to $30,000 of reimbursement for eligible homeowners to elevate their primary single-family residences.

·         More than 2,700 people are working with the Department of Environmental Protection to elevate their homes through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Elevation Program.
·         So far, the DEP has awarded nearly 700 elevation grants in 38 towns across five counties. These grants total more than $21 million.
·         The Christie Administration has submitted more than 1,200 elevation applications for NJ Homeowners to FEMA for approval.

Giving Homeowners The Option To Sell Sandy-Damaged Property:

Through New Jersey’s existing Blue Acres Program, the Christie Administration is giving homeowners the option of selling their properties damaged by Superstorm Sandy in tidal areas of New Jersey. The program is designed to give homeowners the ability to choose the best option for their individual situation.

·         469 voluntary buyout offers have been made, and 306 willing sellers have accepted.
·         The State has been evaluating more than 1,300 homes in repetitive flooding communities and over 600 applicants have already been approved.
o   So far, 152 homes have been purchased in three Middlesex County municipalities: Woodbridge, Sayreville and South River.
o   48 homes have been demolished:  39 in Sayreville and 9 in South River.

·         The Christie Administration is working to aggressively identify and reach out to additional eligible residents to inform them of buyout opportunities and assist them with the application process.

The state is targeting clusters of homes that were ravaged by the storm for buyouts. Those homes eventually will be razed and the areas maintained as open space that can handle future flood waters, while keeping people and property out of harm’s way.

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