N.J. extends mortgage protections for Superstorm Sandy victims

People watch from the beach Wednesday, July 10, 2013, as a home severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy is demolished in the Normandy Beach section of Toms River, N.J. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

People watch from the beach Wednesday, July 10, 2013, as a home severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy is demolished in the Normandy Beach section of Toms River, N.J. (Mel Evans/AP Photo, file)

New Jersey legislators in late June voted to extended a mortgage protection program for Superstorm Sandy victims that was set to expire.

The bipartisan legislation extends foreclosure protection and mortgage relief programs for certain Superstorm Sandy-impacted homeowners until July 1, 2022 or for one year following the issuance of a certificate of occupancy.

The program would have ended on July 1 without an extension. Governor Phil Murphy signed the legislation into law on June 21.

A joint statement from Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf, and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove praised the passage of the bill.

“As representatives of an area that was among the hardest hit by Sandy, we continue to work closely with constituents who are still coping with the catastrophic damage caused by the storm,” the statement said. “Therefore, we completely understand how critical the mortgage forbearance and foreclosure assistance program is to Sandy victims, as well as to the overall rebuilding and recovery process.”

Superstorm Sandy victims also lauded the legislation’s extension.

“The mortgage forbearance has taken some stress off my financial burdens,” said Alfonso LoGiudice, a Ventnor resident, in a news release from the governor’s office.

Brigantine resident Marita Vinci said her bank had told her she would have to start paying her $2,000 a month mortgage beginning on July 1.

“I was hoping to be home soon, but still need funding. The passing of this bill will make a difference in my getting home,” she said.

In April, Murphy announced an update to a three-prong plan to assist displaced residents. The state estimates that around 1,000 homeowners remain displaced.

The plan calls for removing the $150,000 cap on Sandy-related grant funding; expanding rental assistance to a total of 40 months for residents in the state rebuilding programs (capped at $1,300 a month); and reallocating $55 million of federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds to homeowners in the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation and the Low-to-Moderate Income Homeowner Rebuilding programs.

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