In continuing his efforts to assist families devastated by Hurricane Sandy, today U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) renewed his call for Governor Christie to reopen applications for two federally funded grant programs that would help homeowners impacted by Sandy complete the required elevations of their homes. Today's announcement of the amended New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan still leaves thousands of families on waitlists for critical federal Sandy recovery. Rep. Pascrell submitted public comments to Governor Christie's office urging a modification to the amendment to reopen the RREM program and allocate additional federal funds to this program.
"I'm pleased that more federal disaster recovery dollars will be making their way directly to homeowners so that they can repair and elevate their Sandy damaged homes," said Rep. Pascrell. "While this infusion of funding is welcome, there will still be over 7,500 families on the waitlist for these grants, and countless others who did not receive substantial damage declarations and were not given the opportunity to apply in the first place. Given these considerations, I strongly urge Governor Christie to reopen the application process for these grants, commit more funding from future CDBG allocations to homeowners, work with our federal partners to expedite the process to get this funding in the hands of Sandy-damage New Jerseyans so they may rebuild their homes and lives."
Homeowners in communities devastated by Sandy, including Little Ferry, were informed months after the grant programs to fund the elevations expired that the extent of the damage to their property was severe enough that their homes would have to be elevated. Additionally, homeowners were plagued with delays in determination of substantial damage letters, which created problems in RREM funding.
Because of the confusion surrounding these programs, in October Congressman Pascrell wrote to Governor Christie urging him to reopen applications for the RREM program, which closed on the arbitrary date of August 1, 2013. This is essential so that homeowners in New Jersey still recovering from Sandy can access the federal funding which Congress provided to help them. The State of New Jersey has responded that the determination to reopen the RREM application will depend upon the allocation of sufficient future CDBG funds to first provide awards to all homeowners on the waitlist.