N.J. announces $50M fund for 1,200 families still rebuilding after Sandy

 In this aerial photo, sand fills the streets in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, along the central Jersey Shore, N.J. (Mike Groll/AP Photo)

In this aerial photo, sand fills the streets in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, along the central Jersey Shore, N.J. (Mike Groll/AP Photo)

On the sixth year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy pulverizing New Jersey’s coastline, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a $50 million appropriation to assist the 1,200 families who have not yet finished rebuilding.

Speaking Monday at an event in Union Beach, the Raritan Bay community in Monmouth County that was devastated by the storm, Murphy said the zero-interest, forgivable loan will fully fund unmet needs above and beyond the maximum $150,000 grant.

Homeowners within the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation Program and the Low-to-Moderate Income Homeowner Rebuilding Program — the two main housing recovery programs for homeowners affected by Sandy — are eligible.

“With these programs, our objective is to find a path forward for the homeowners who have not finished rebuilding and who find themselves stuck because they don’t have the financial means to move ahead,” Murphy said in a news release.

According to state officials, the loan would be uncapped, require no monthly payments, and would be calculated based on the remaining eligible work under the state rebuilding program that is needed.

Loan recipients must live in the house for 15 years following construction completion. If the house were sold before 15 years, a portion of the loan would be due upon sale.

Murphy also announced that homeowners required to repay excess grant funds will be eligible to apply to the state for an “extreme financial hardship allowance.”

“We want to work with people who are struggling financially to determine what they can realistically contribute, and we want to get them across the finish line so they can return home and get some much-overdue normalcy in their lives,” the governor said.

The state will fund the program with unspent federal recovery funds. Murphy said more than $1 billion remains available, although most is reserved for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coastal projects.

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