FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 16, 2014

Christie Administration Announces More Than $800 Million Milestone In Federal Sandy Housing Recovery Funds For Families In Need

More Than 70 Percent Of Housing Recovery Funds Have Been Disbursed or Committed To Affected New Jerseyans, Including 73 Percent To Low & Moderate Income Families

Trenton, NJ – Acting on his commitment to get Sandy-impacted New Jerseyans back in their homes, Governor Chris Christie today announced in Manahawkin that $817 million – or more than 70 percent – of federal Sandy housing recovery funds have been disbursed or committed to residents in need. Of those funds, $596 million – or 73 percent is targeted at low and moderate income (LMI), which is defined as families with income less than 80 percent of an area’s median income.

The Christie Administration exceeded the $800 million mark in the eight months since the Obama Administration approved the state’s $1.83 billion New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan that allocates $1.159 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds to housing recovery programs for homeowners, renters and rental property owners.

“Getting Sandy-impacted families back into their homes and communities has been a top priority of mine since the storm hit,” said Governor Christie. “Today’s milestone is a testament to the dedication of this Administration to help our neighbors recover from the storm. We know that there is much more work to be done and we will continue to work hard to advance our recovery programs and get New Jerseyans back in their homes.”

The $180 million Homeowner Resettlement Program, which provides eligible Sandy-impacted homeowners with a $10,000 grant to incentivize them to stay in their home community rather than relocating, is almost entirely obligated, with $166 million in funding committed or expended. The program has awarded more than 16,600 Resettlement checks to eligible families, with nearly 200 more families in the process of being scheduled for their grant closing. Families can utilize the money for non-construction storm-related expenses such as increases in flood insurance premiums and rent payments for temporary housing.

The $600 million Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program is a construction-based program encumbered by numerous federal requirements in place largely in response to abuse and fraud post-Katrina. New Jersey and all other states receiving CDBG Disaster Recovery funds must abide by these federal regulations before awarding any construction-based grants. Despite these difficulties, the state has sent preliminary award letters to 4,300 Sandy-impacted homeowners, committing $100,000 per application until the final grant award for each applicant is known.

“While eclipsing $800 million is a significant accomplishment, the Governor and I know there’s still a long way to go,” said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III, whose Department administers the federal CDBG Disaster Recovery funding for the state. “Many families are still not back in their homes. Therefore, we will continue to tirelessly work to get even more housing recovery funds out the door so that we can reach more families who are still struggling in the aftermath of Sandy.”

In addition to the Homeowner Resettlement and RREM programs, the Christie Administration has allocated $379 million in CDBG Disaster Recovery funds for programs specifically for renters and rental property owners in order to replenish the stock of rental housing throughout Sandy-impacted areas, repair affordable rental units left uninhabitable by the storm, and provide affordable housing for special needs populations. To date:

  • More than $118 million of the $179 million has been committed to repair and construct affordable multi-family rental housing units through the Fund for Restoration of Multi-Family Rental Housing.
  • More than $13 million of the $30 million has been obligated to create affordable housing options in formerly blighted buildings and underutilized lots through the Neighborhood Enhancement Program.
  • Almost $59 million of the $70 million has been obligated to rehabilitate Sandy-damaged rental units that must be rented year-round to low- and moderate-income households through the Landlord Rental Repair Program.
  • Nearly $20 million of the $25 million has been obligated to provide rental housing and support services to special needs populations affected by the storm through the Sandy Special Needs Housing Fund.
  • Nearly $6 million of the $10 million has been provided to non-profit affordable housing developers for the revitalization of Sandy-affected areas through the Predevelopment Loan Fund For Affordable Rental Housing.
  • Nearly $5 million of the $40 million has been obligated to help low- and moderate-income households obtain affordable rental housing through the Landlord Incentive Program.
  • More than $1 million of the $25 million has been approved in interest-free, forgivable mortgages to help low- and moderate-income people buy homes in Sandy-affected communities through the Sandy Homebuyer Assistance Program.

The New Jersey Disaster Recovery Action Plan, which was approved April 29, 2013, details how the State is distributing the $1,829,520,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds to help homeowners, renters, businesses and communities impacted by Sandy. Pursuant to guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Action Plan focuses predominantly on the nine counties most affected by the storm as determined by HUD (Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union) and on assisting low- to moderate-income families.

Lisa Ryan
Sean Conner
(609) 292-6055