$145M in federal Sandy funds en route to N.J. homeowners

     (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo, file)

    (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo, file)

    The Christie administration announced today federal approval to amend the New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan, allowing the dedication of a much-awaited additional $145 million of federal funds to two Superstorm Sandy housing recovery programs and $15 million to demolish unsafe storm-damaged structures.

    The approval shifts money from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery program, enabling over 2,000 Sandy-impacted homeowners to move off waiting lists and receive recovery grants, the administration said in a release. 

    “Helping Sandy-impacted families get back in their homes is the top priority of my Administration,” said Governor Chris Christie. “Receiving approval of our request to dedicate additional funds to help thousands of New Jersey residents get the needed resources to resettle in their neighborhoods and rebuild their homes is critical to this mission.”

    The approval allocates $110 million to approximately 1,000 families on the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation (RREM) Program waitlist and $35 million to more than 1,200 families on the Homeowner Resettlement Program waitlist. 

    The RREM program provides grants of up to $150,000 to help homeowners impacted by Sandy to repair or rebuild their homes. The approximately 7,000 homeowners who remain on the waitlist will be advised of list placement, the release said.

    The Homeowner Resettlement Program allocation enables the state to fully fund every eligible Sandy-impacted homeowner who applied to the program with a $10,000 grant to incentivize them to stay in their home community rather than relocating. The state has awarded 16,600 Resettlement checks to eligible families.

    An additional $15 million will fund the demolition of unsafe Sandy-damaged structures, alleviating blight and protecting the public health and welfare, the release said.  

    “Today’s announcement demonstrates our sustained commitment to helping as many Sandy-impacted families as we can with their housing recovery needs,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III. “The state is set to receive an additional $1.4 billion in CDBG Disaster Recovery funding this year and we intend to dedicate a substantial portion of the funds to housing programs when we submit our second Action Plan to HUD for approval. Once approved, the money will allow us to reach even more storm-affected homeowners and renters.”

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