New Jersey drops grant contractor, but keeps housing advisors

 Superstorm Sandy damaged thousands of homes in New Jersey. (AP File Photo/Wayne Parry)

Superstorm Sandy damaged thousands of homes in New Jersey. (AP File Photo/Wayne Parry)

New Jersey has ended its contract with the Louisiana company that processed applications for the state’s main Sandy recovery grants, but officials say that decision won’t impact homeowners already in the grant application process.

The state’s contract with Hammerman & Gainer Inc., or HGI, was supposed to run until May 2016, but instead ended earlier this week. 

HGI previously ran housing recovery offices and call centers to provide process and evaluate homeowners’ grant applications, though technically employees at these centers were subcontractors from a staffing agency. Going forward, homeowners will continue to work with these same representatives, but the state will now take a more active role in overseeing them.

“The daily work of helping New Jersey families get back in their homes and communities as quickly as possible is occurring as normal,” said Richard Constable, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, in an emailed statement. 

Grant applicants should be able to access the recovery centers, hotlines, and websites as normal, he said.

The DCA wouldn’t comment of why the contract was terminated, but Sandy victims often complained about poor service or a lack of information regarding their grant applications. 

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