Only 328 N.J. homes done rebuilding from Sandy with RREM money

 An Ortley Beach bungalow is raised to comply with new building codes. Others will have to follow suit or pay prohibitive flood insurance premiums. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

An Ortley Beach bungalow is raised to comply with new building codes. Others will have to follow suit or pay prohibitive flood insurance premiums. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

During his recent state of the state speech, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie did not once mention the on-going recovery from Superstorm Sandy. More than two years after Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline, many displaced homeowners are still rebuilding.

Adam Gordon with the Fair Share Housing Center says more than 10,000 homeowners were approved for federal funds in the state’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation, and Mitigation program, but only 328 of those homes have been rebuilt.

He says about half of those homeowners still haven’t received any money.

“People are told that they only have to sign this one more document and then they’ll get money,” Gordon said. “Then they don’t hear anything for weeks and then they have to sign another document. So it just still seems like there isn’t a clear process to how to get from A to B and a lot of people are frustrated and stuck waiting.”

Staci Berger is President and CEO of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. She says homeowners still displaced because of Sandy are suffering financially.

“One thing we’ve heard a lot about from a lot of residents in New Jersey is the need to pay both rent and a mortgage while they wait to rebuild,” she said. “There really needs to be a solution for families who are struggling to pay for two homes while one is being rebuilt and they’re living in another.”

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs says all eligible applicants in the RREM program will be funded when the state gets its third round of federal Sandy aid in the Spring.

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